Monday, September 28, 2009
Over the last couple of years, I have gradually abandoned my politically conservative upbringing in favor of a decidedly more liberal point of view. I am pro-life, but I understand the need for choice. I am not going to campaign against gay marriage. I am anti-"Blood for Oil"-war. I am a big fan of protecting the environment. I think we should be kind to animals.
I could go on and on, but I think you may get the point. Of late, my most grevious sin against my conservative upbringing is that I am in favor of health care reform. Or, in the conservative camp, the government conspiracy to keep you sick and kill your grandmother through use of the flu vaccine.
Anyway, in discussing this issue with some of my conservative acquaintences, I have suggested that health care reform is a pro-life issue. I have shared my own experiences in working with a non-profit that helps the uninsured gain access to health care, and many of these experiences involve people who would have died if we were not able to get them treatment for their medical conditions. In my own life, I have faced serious illness without the benefit of health insurance that would allow me to get treatment in a timely manner, thus making the treatment I eventually received (once Medicaid kicked in) much more complicated than it needed to be.
So, I presented that the health care reform that is needed is as much a pro-life issue as it is an issue of anything else. As you might expect, this resulted in quite a backlash from the pro-life crowd. The logic is that the gift of life is FREE, therefore worthy of protecting. Health care that the person might need after they are born is not free, therefore it is not a right and it is not owed to anyone, even though it may go a long way in prolonging life.
If I am understanding the reasoning correctly, it can be summed up like this: Being conceived gives a person the right to live. However, once out of the uterus, nobody owes that person health care, even if the lack of health care costs them their life.
This doesn't make sense to me. Is life sacred only when it exists within the confines of the uterus? After a child is born, are they suddenly expendable? Children can often get health insurance through the state, but after they turn 19, they are on their own. So, is it that life IS sacred outside the womb, but only for the first 19 years?
I am trying to understand. Try as I may, though, I can't wrap my mind around the thinking. Health care reform is a pro-life issue, and I don't understand why American Family Association and other groups of the sort are not rallying behind it. Even if they cannot adopt Obama's plan, reform of SOME kind needs to happen.
Every 12 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies due to lack of health care. The conservative fired back that, every 22 seconds, a baby dies at the hand of their mother and a doctor through abortion. I didn't see how either fact validated the other. I think the conservative was saying that we can deal with health care reform once we have dealt with Roe V Wade. I'm not sure, though.
This only further fuels my growing dislike for conservative politics, and it is becoming more and more difficult for me to seperate a person from their politics. When I see someone responding so coldly to the fact that over 100,000 people in the U.S. die every year for lack of health care, it causes me to question their heart entirely.
When supporting an ideology becomes more important than accepting fact as fact, it concerns me. This same acquaintance and I have had several discussions about health care, during which I have presented several statistics about the dire situation in our country. The response is typically something along the lines, "Oh, there we go with the statistics", followed by calling those who gathered the stats "greedy liars". I am deeply concerned about what this means for the future of our country, since this individual and others of the same mindset seem to insist on breeding.
When a large segment of people in a nation blatantly refuse to accept fact, and would rather believe outright lies, such as those told on Fox News...what is the future of that nation? When Glenn Beck becomes the bastion of honor and integrity to a large segment of the voting populace, does our nation have any real hope?
I don't understand the logic of those who are passionately pro-life, and just as passionately (and, ignorantly, in my opinion) anti-reform.
A friend of mine suggested I stop talking about the issue with those who can't see reason and at least consider the other side of the debate. I suppose he is right.
The Rachel Maddow Show had a guest recently who wrote a book called "Crazy for God", about his journey out of the fundamental Christianity he grew up with, and into a relationship with God that did not require him to check his brain at the door. He commented that there is a village idiot in the United States, and it is the fundamental Christians who have been "left behind" by science, education, technology, the arts, etc., and are just waiting to die or to be raptured so life can be good.
I'm paraphrasing, of course, but that's the gist of it. While I would not have been so bold as to use the terms he used, I can't deny that I think he's on to something. The more I see of this health care reform debate, the more I am convinced that I can no longer identify with conservatives, and I have to question their heart, their motives, and at times, their intellect, the more I see them attempt to defend their position.
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