John McCain, in a dramatic speech on the floor of the Senate, pleaded for a return to a spirit of compromise and cooperation. He pointed out, quite rightly I might add, that both the Affordable Care Act and every attempt to repeal and replace it were subject to fatal flaws. The reason is simplicity itself. As long as only ONE party is allowed to place ITS stamp on the legislation, meaningful health care is, at best, a pipe dream.
It would be easy to engage in finger pointing. I've been guilty of it myself. And I'd be a naive fool if I didn't concede that there are elements within the Republican Party which oppose the entire concept of universal, affordable health care, purely on selfish grounds. They have convinced themselves that health care is a privilege and not a right. If you can afford it, fine. If you can't? Well, they are more than happy to extend their condolences. Yes, SOME Republicans feel it's more important to meet the desires of their campaign contributors that the pressing needs of millions of their uninsured and unprotected fellow Americans.
It would be easy to dismiss EVERY Republican on this issue, tarring each and every one with the brush of selfishness and greed. But I HAVE to concede that there are any number of Republicans who oppose health care, not so much on political, ideological or financial grounds, but on the basis of THEIR interpretation of constitutional law. They look to the Tenth Amendment which states that the government possesses only those powers delegated to it within the framework of the Constitution itself. And health care isn't one of those powers enumerated in our Constitution.
These are sincere and concerned human beings who, without question, feel in their hearts the desire to extend a helping hand to their fellow citizens. But who, at the same time, feel their hands are tied due to the restraints imposed on them by the Tenth Amendment. We have to respect their concerns and attempt to address them in a practical and meaningful way.
Present day politics is suffused with anger, bile and vitriol, a condition that can only lead to loud speeches and faulty arguments. Unfortunately, angry reactions seldom lead to effective solutions. We have to begin to accept the fact that there are sincere and genuine individuals on BOTH sides of the argument. It's ALWAYS been this way. But we have to be willing to concede that EACH side is entitled to a fair hearing and the benefit of the doubt. We have to become willing to at least LISTEN to what the other guy is trying to say.
Those of you who read this blog on a regular basis know that, in the end, I believe we must apply reason to our political and governmental problems. We have the God given ability to use our minds in order to reason things out and come up with practical solutions to some VERY thorny issues, health care being high on the list. We don't require miracles to achieve such solutions, just the willingness to listen to the other side.
Most importantly, we have to find some way to exorcise demonization from our political culture. We have to become willing to concede that the other side genuinely cares about this country and wants to do what's best for it. Yes, we have to come to believe that the other guy really wants to make America great again.
Sure, fomenting hate, suspicion, and doubt about ulterior motives will always be an effective political weapon. It's worked for BOTH sides of the political aisle. But at the same time, it has had a chilling effect on our ability to govern ourselves. We have a choice to make, politics or government. Hopefully, in the future, we make the RIGHT one!!
Filed under: Politics