While it's good to think that bringing us all together here in America would be a great and wonderful enterprise, it wouldn't make any sense to bring us together in an undifferentiated horde. By undifferentiated, I mean that we do have differences to overcome and those differences are as wide as the Grand Canyon at times. Yet, there has to be something, some reason or a situation that could part the great divide and allow us to see eye to eye on a particular subject or state of affairs.
What might that look like in 2009? What would it take to pull it off?
Let me answer the second question first. Education. Pure and simple.
Back to the first question.
We know there are many psychological and sociocultural factors acting on individuals and groups that drive condition behavioral patterns today. There are also a myriad of political and governmental ideology divides that somehow seem to keep us from forming a consensus on issues as simple as health care. That, my friends is where I'm confounded and confused. Let me explain why.
Few of us wants to to surrender our individuality or our individual responsibilities. Yet to a growing number of American citizens, the idea that we are becoming a "socialist" country is scaring the hell out of them. Why? Because if we become socialists, we are somehow embracing the Communist manifesto or something. As Jim Juback of MSNBC muses, what the hell does that mean anyway?
Listen to congressional speeches calling for the Federal Reserve and the Treasury to exit the "free market" before it's too late to save even the bones of US-style capitalism and before the Obama administration sells us into, gasp, socialism.
(I just wish someone, sometime, making this charge would be specific about what kind of socialism he or she is talking about. Are we afraid that this administration wants this country to be Sweden or that it has a hankering for Stalin-era gulags and collective farms, where we all start the day singing to the glory of our tractors? There's a big difference. Maybe the speakers could wear hats or talk in funny accents to make their definitions clear.)
Exactly! What is the real issue again? Well in truth, there isn't one really. It just sounds so 1960's when you yell about socialism and communism and all those other -ism's.
The Red threat and all that. Sure, to people of my generation, the Baby Boomers, we grew up with the whole Us vs. Them mindset. It didn't get us anywhere except to make a lot of the military-industrialists rich as kings, and likely that was the whole point in the first place. Yet now, without the threat of the USSR hanging over our country like a smelly gas and the Mooslem Terrahrists just too hard to see as a viable THEM whilst hiding in their caves and popping out for their Spring Offensives, the right wing just doens't have a serious contender for a boogyman county. Someone we can ALL get behind loathing and fearing. So, they turned their sights inward, deeply inward to the very country we live in, The United States of America and the Democratic Party! Ever since Bill Clinton showed up at the White House, the new boogyman for the Right has been the Left. Liberals and Progressives are now the new THEM! Since that is a fact and is now the case, let me ask this question.
Why aren't we coming together as Americans when it comes to the obvious need to reform health care? Seriously? Why?
Because we are getting mixed signals from different input sources, of course.
Let's face it. 47 million Americans without health care insurance must be interested in being insured. The majority of Americans with junk health care insurance must be interested in obtaining an insurance policy that actually allows for them to walk away, hopefully, from an extened health care episode that does not bankrupt their family or cause them to DIE over the fact that they have to choose death over banktrupcy if they want their remaining family to remain solvent after their death. The Right in America does not want to see health care reform for the very reason that they cannot return to power if good health care reform is enacted and ALL Americans, those that lean Right and those that lean Left are able to see and touch and feel the difference that simple policy act has made for themselves and their families.
Countering the lies and the obsfucation of the Right is so easy when it comes to this issue that it isn't funny. Even the Congressional Budger Office (CBO) has recently stated that a good Public Option will save far more money than any other type of health care reform option that is currently under consideration. That is just savings to the government that they are talking about. Think about the additional savings to the average American family, be they conservative or progressive that will come about when the insurance companies finally have real competition that they must work with, instead of against as they are today.
If explained as such, most Americans would understand the need for a Public Option that might someday lead to an even more cost efficient Universal Health Care policy for their families and themselves.
Progressives? It is up to us to make this case. Our elected Democrats will not, at least not in numbers enough to educate the American people. Our elected Republicans will not at all.
We Americans have come together in times of need before, no matter our political stripes. We could easily come together in this time of need like never before. The health care situation in America is killing us, in far greater numbers than any threat from any outside country or group of people possibly could.
IF we enlightened progressives make sure to pass on our knowledge on a daily basis, to as many people that we come in contact with that will allow us the time to tell them, we will win converts. Those converts can be asked to contact their Congressional Representatives. The numbers are already on our side, no matter what CNN and Faux try to tell you. The more Americans on board, the more our Congress has to take heed.
You are an American. The person sitting next to you, listening to Rush every day at lunch is an American. Get to know them better. Tell them you have something for them. I am NOT advocating trying to understand why they are who they are or why they believe that lying sack of un-American dog-doo, but I am asking you to talk to them on this one subject.
Just tell them the truth. But, be gentle. They don't hear much of that these days.