Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Healthcare--Who is the enemy?

In 2003, Tony Blair, former UK Prime Minister and one of my favorite politicians, addressed a group of British Ambassadors with this speech (in part):

"I am not surprised by anti-Americanism; but it is a foolish indulgence. For all their faults and all nations have them, the US are a force for good; they have liberal and democratic traditions of which any nation can be proud. I sometimes think it is a good rule of thumb to ask of a country: are people trying to get into it or out of it? It's not a bad guide to what sort of country it is."

To be fair, he wasn't the first to espouse this sentiment. George Will called it "the gate test" in '92, and in '94 Timothy Ash called it "the Statue of Liberty test." Neither of them was referring merely to Mexican border incursions; in truth, the US limits immigration in both number and in terms of what the prospective immigrant brings to the table, due to the incredible number of applications each year.

I feel this is kind of a "bottom line" to which we should defer when doubting some of the stuff that is happening in our country. Some people I know, who shall remain nameless, are quick to jump to the negative stuff and cry "our nation is falling apart" or some-such. Why do we keep supporting Israel when they openly snub us? What in the heck is Texas doing with their history books? Why do we still have racism and homophobia in our country? I'm not going to stand for this health care legislation...

Ah, there it is--such unbelievable divisiveness, not seen in our country since social security legislation, this "first step toward communism..." Now that it has passed the House, a number of states are taking it to court for 10th Amendment violation of state's rights, and more specifically, the lack of authority to force the american people to buy something (health care). Don't kid yourself, if you look at the vote along party lines, it is obvious special interests are playing a part in damning this legislation. My research is not complete, but it looks like most of the states filing this are being led by GOP Governors or Attorney's General. As has been the case since Nixon, everybody agrees on reasonable health care for all, but not on how to do it--end result, until now, is it never happened.

My point in opening this blog with Blair's quote is simple; we are a country with flaws despite our greatness, but what makes us great is our consistent track record to make corrections that always bring us within tolerances so attractive to immigrants. Shouldn't we be proud of our actions to legislate and improve tolerance of all kinds? Don't we stand for human rights in the world? Aren't we constantly providing aid of all kinds to other nations?

We have our setbacks--we should have learned something about our actions in Iraq from our actions in Viet Nam perhaps; but the threat of international NGO terrorism is something new we are learning to deal with, with sometimes faltering steps. We will get better at it.

I think the same will hold true with health care. Is it perfect? No. Adjustments are forthcoming, with time. We are not our own enemy; we are the force of balance that will fine tune the thing everyone wanted, a fair and equitable universal health care system. We just had to start with something, and finally--we did. Have faith...

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