The only thing we have to fear, is Fear itself....
Last week, my nine year-old daughter was reading a bit of history on the Trail of Tears. When reading about a Nation of Native Americans displaced and forced to march nearly a thousand miles, with thousands dying along the way and on the reservations, she asked how could America do such a thing? How could we be so irresponsible, so selfish, so mean? I thought back in history to some of the other things Americans thought were right, but are now embarrassed as a nation to have been a part of: slavery, institutionalization of suffragettes, Japanese internment camps, segregation, Abu Ghraib. How could we have done such things?
Fear, that's how. Fear fanned by propaganda, misinformation, rhetoric, and bigotry. Fear of change. Fear of differences. Fear of the enemy. Fear of the unknown. In short, Fear of Loss, whether it be of life, property, security, happiness, opportunity, or status.
We are now faced with another national embarrassment, one that many good, hardworking Americans are too afraid to correct. Every day, people in our great country are suffering and dying because they cannot afford health care. How many of us have heard stories of family lost in the early 20th century from the flu, scarlet fever, polio, or other epidemics because the family simply couldn't afford the medicine? Do you remember how that made you feel when you heard those stories as a child? How angry, upset, and confused that that could happen in the United States of America? That tragedy has not ended. It is with us today, and it must stop.
Physical and financial ruin are but a string of Fate away for most Americans, even if they have health insurance. A waitress right here in my small hometown had to delay life-saving cancer therapy until she could raise the $32,000 dollars of out-of-pocket expense that her health insurance wouldn't cover. The whole town rallied around to help her raise that money. Can you depend on such support? Can your child count on such support? Would you have the energy, or the time, to rally that support while you or a loved one needs that care right away?
What are you so afraid of, America, that you would deny good, decent, responsible people life? We have laws that demand people have insurance on their cars, but not on their health. Isn't that backwards? How is property more important than life? Is Fear worth the suffering of millions of Americans, of our friends, our neighbors, our family, and our selves?
Don't let Fear guide you. Get informed. Look at the other countries that have universal health care. A great many are capitalist democracies. Examine how they work, how they address your Fear of Loss. Have some compassion as well as common sense. A national public option that everyone can participate in is not something to let Fear destroy. It's the right thing to do.
Labels: health insurance