I keep hearing politicians say that Americans do not want government health care. And when you think about it, you know in your heart that only those who have good insurance would say that.
For example, if your children were without health insurance would you not want government health care? And as far as the federal deficit is concerned, anyone old enough to pay taxes can figure out that if we end the two wars and not cut taxes for millionaires we can begin to clear our debts.
When people get sick and require medical treatment, somebody is going to have to pay for it. If they can't afford it, then the taxpayers are going to foot the bill whether they like it or not. When hospitals have to assume the burden they are forced to collect the money from people who have insurance.
How we treat people who are sick and in need tells the world about the kind of people we are. There's not enough propaganda anywhere to convey the message that we are a caring country when we deprive sick people of medical treatment because they can't afford it. The fact that some of us insist on calling ourselves "leaders of the free world" would cause some civilized people to ask themselves if they want to be a part of a world like that. And I'm not sure that people who are bringing up their children to believe that they have no responsibilities to other people really think about the consequences of that lesson.
Yet, I guess the time has finally come when we have to accept the fact that some people truly do not feel that it is their responsibility to help people who for various reasons are not able to financially support themselves. These people are apparently for real, and while we may not believe they represent American values, we need to accept them for who they are and quit trying to convince them that it is immoral not to help those in need.
People who feel this way were born in America, of American parentage. They believe that we are all on our own to succeed or fail. They believe that except when it comes to defending the country. They have not yet shared with us why anyone should sacrifice his or her life for anyone else. Or perhaps, they believe that instead of an army we should hire mercenaries to fight for us. Let's face it: there are some who believe that money can buy anything or anybody.
For years we have been hearing about something called the American Spirit. When some speak about the way they feel about their fellow citizens, I'm not sure I share the same spirit. It's hard for me to understand those who claim to believe that we all begin our journey on a fair and equal playing field.
Even if we can have civil discourse in the chambers of government, I have a hard time believing that outside of a common disaster we will ever be a united country. Our differences are too great and our ideologies are worlds apart. We seem to have radically different views as to what constitutes our value system.
Our attitudes concerning the separation of church and state are a case in point. Somehow we never get the two entirely separated. We still have "In God We Trust" on our money and we continue to use the phrase "One nation, under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. And there are those who are still willing to fight for prayer in school.
The one thing the two political parties agree on seems to be the need to start fundraising campaigns the minute they get in office. It doesn't seem likely, though, that we can expect new campaign finance laws to make that practice go away.
The place where our national leaders are guiding the country seems a little scary at times. We can only hope we land on solid ground.
You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.