By Bob Robinson
Emotions blaze on as the debate over health care reform continues in our nation's capitol, our state capitol, and in our local communities. On the left are those who believe that our health care delivery system is narcissistic and shattered. That because of the high cost of insurance (which has more than doubled in the last nine years), adequate health care is out of reach to average families. Some form of public health care, a "public option" they reason, will reduce health care costs, and protect families from the financial trauma of catastrophic illness. Reform, they concede, is the only way to provide access to affordable health coverage for all Americans.
On the right are those who believe that change must be avoidable. The best way to provide quality health care, they say, is through a competitive and profitable private system, and that a public wellness plan would force Americans onto a government proscribed plan while the private health insurance industry collapses. Right wingers, disruptively shouting "kill the bill" in community forums and publicly swatting fellow legislative photographs, claim that public health care would enable our government to interfere with the relationship between doctors and patients and limit an individual's free choice. Some states choosing to challenge the supremacy clause of the United States Constitution by filing lawsuits against the federal government over the recently passed reforms.
Both sides, heavy with special interest money, dig in, adding to the trench warfare-like partisanship that has gripped our state and federal government, and stalled progress toward a solution to the problem. As bricks fly through windows and voicemail scorches with heated words, our nation slowly transforms from the land of liberty, to a state of misery.
Caught in the middle are families with real problems. Like Amanda with two small children ages two and four whose husband has lost his job. Forced off health insurance both her babies are now unprotected and without health care coverage. Or John who has lost health insurance for his family of seven because of an on-the-job injury that has forced him onto disability. The family will undoubtedly lose their home and college educations will be sacrificed.
When did we Americans become so extreme? So divided? Where is the spirit of unity that built this nation? Do we continue to squabble with each other while our fellow countrymen and women and their children suffer? It's not a matter of right wing or left wing because the American eagle needs both wings to fly. It has been said that: "No tree would be so foolish as to have its branches fight amongst each other." Whether it's health care reform, our economic crisis, or balancing our deficit budgets it's only through cooperation, compromise, and solidarity that we will successfully address our problems. When our state and federal leaders finally push aside political agendas, special interests, and personal bias, and reassert that old American belief: "United we stand, divided we fall," maybe then we can move forward in putting people to work, keeping our children healthy, and remaking the American dream.
Robinson is a citizen candidate for the office of State Representative of Eaton County, District 71, who is not seeking lobby money for his campaign. He is an internationally accredited public relations professional and author of the Random House book, "Freelancing: Using the Internet to Find a Job", which chronicled the history of organized employment in the United States. Bob lives with his family in Vermontville, Michigan, and is involved in his community. For information, go to www.district71.com or his Facebook page at http://facebook.dj/district71.
This was originally printed in the April 11 - April 24, 2010 edition.