"The truth as an offense, but not a sin."
Last week (March 23, 2010), President Barack Obama signed into law Healthcare (insurance) reform after it successfully passed in the United States Congress on Sunday, March 21st.
What it means as you have probably read in the paper is that a lot more people will eventually be able to have healthcare coverage and health plans will have a few new restrictions that will aid in them being somewhat more balanced as far as covering people's needs is concerned. Health plans will not suffer, business will not suffer, if you are reading this blog and you make over $200,000 per year (at most about 5% of Americans) you will be required to contribute a little more of your income in taxes. I think this article from MSNBC is one of many that gives a pretty good explanation of what is to come on the surface.
With that out of the way, I wanted to see if now that we have something to work with, will those who we have elected to govern choose to govern or will they choose to hide behind one excuse after another so that they can continue to resist their leader. Or should I say the elected leader that some consider theirs?
I wrote several months ago that this idea of healthcare reform is a microcosm for American society. My intention was to begin a dialogue about what the realities of this debate really were and until today actually are.
So, now that we have a health reform bill signed into law, what is the truth? If we had a truth serum to get into the minds of those who are still living with what is in many ways a violent, and certainly visceral response to this legislation what would they say?
Believe me when I say that I get political leanings. It is clear that tilting the balance of power towards the political party that one represents is generally in the goals of a politician. And despite obvious drawbacks of governing on leanings versus principle, I don't expect for that to change.
And while I fundamentally believe that the interests of most politicians are consistently biased towards how they can negotiate in a particular direction; I don't believe their intentions are such that they are opposed to things that have the potential to do a great deal of good for a majority of the people that elected them to office.
In the case of healthcare insurance reform, I am not so sure that this is about party, position, or the American people.
When one hears the rhetoric and refrain of healthcare reform opponents via social media or the news media, I have not heard the whole truth. It is almost like listening to code language.
"It's too expensive, it will break us."
"This is a [still] a government take-over of healthcare."
"He said he was going to be bipartisan, what happened to that."
"We want healthcare reform, but we feel like we simply need to start over, why rush this?"
"This bill is not good for the American people."
Then of course:
"Obamacare is socialized medicine!"
and recently from Newt Gingrich:
“They will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years [by passing civil rights legislation]."
You have to appreciate Newt's honesty. He spoke as if he had taken truth serum. In fact, he summed up what the unspoken sentiment of many Americans is and has been manipulated to be where reform is concerned: opposition to the idea of President Barack Obama.
They are not opposed to the Office of the President, they are not really even opposed to Democrats, or healthcare reform for that matter. I would argue that most Americans don't know enough about the inner workings of health reform or economics to an extent that they even really understand why they feel how they do. In this case of resistance to reform, they are primarily opposed the physical identity of one man.
The code language that has been used by resistant politicians and pundits is incrementally becoming more explicit, but in general they have restrained themselves. They have done so because deep down they know that their sentiments are contrary to what they believe is "the right thing". Their anger and resistance is a reaction, in my opinion, to a compromised conscience.
When the integrity of one's conscience is compromised, guilt often turns to guile. To mitigate the guilt, many make the object or idea of their guilt to be wrong. They demonize and attack them as a salve to mitigate such a compromise. When the salve doesn't serve its intended purpose, they intensify it.
I am still concerned with unilateral thinking and total lack of compromise for anything other than personal benefit. I still feel it could be the downfall of country's integrity and I am hoping that I am wrong.
For now, I am pleased that President Obama did something. With the bill's flaws (there are in my humble opinion several unknowns that could be problematic), challenges to the idea of reform, and vehement resistance towards his character, he persisted. I don't care too much about party, but I do care about principle.
What principles will we carry forward in the transition to a new America or for that matter a new world?
I think that is one vital question of the future. With all of the unknowns facing us in the future of healthcare and our general prosperity as a country, we can only rise or fall on principles.
Make it a great day!