DISCUSSION: Concerns About America’s Direction
Matt | On 02, Apr 2010
The Washington Post ran a very interesting article today concerning some recent healthcare polling they conducted. It sparked some thoughts. So, I wanted to use the article to share some larger questions I have about the debates I’m hearing..
The article summarily says that, according to their polls, people who are upset about the new healthcare law are in general “angry” with the direction of the country. These respondents are overwhelmingly Republican/conservative and tend to be older whites (50 and up). The Post conducted follow-up interviews with some people who said that they feel many aspects of America (even outside of healthcare) are changing and they don’t like it at all. Reading the article, I got a Tea Party vibe from their respondents – conservative, on-the-ground, Middle America concerned about the direction of the country.
I have some feedback, but let me be crystal clear. I have NO PROBLEM with Republicans or conservatives that stand up for what they believe in. There are actually a few tenets of the GOP philosophy that I agree with. In fact, I welcome engaged and factual discussion with conservatives because I’m a firm believer in learning from different viewpoints.
Here’s a few random thoughts that come to my mind:
- Why is offering the chance at affordable healthcare to those in need here an almost impossible concept for some in America? We bail out banks, give seniors Medicare, give (some of) the poor Medicaid, and offer billions in unemployment insurance for out-of-work Americans. Yet, for some strange reason, people have vehemently opposed this legislation. God, I wished they would have opposed the illegal invasion of Iraq in this fashion! We gave Bush and Cheney blank checks year after year to run up a several TRILLION dollar tab on for two wars that were off-budget. The conflicts were listed as “emergency spending,” so we would not have to be FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE and pay for them. But, yet we hold the budgeting fire to President Obama like he walked into a surplus???
- The Tea Party takes pride in honoring the traditions and principles of our Founding Fathers. But, they did not honor all people as equal. I inherently have a problem resurrecting the “liberty” and “equality” spoken of in the Constitution when black slaves were three-fifths of a person and women were nowhere near equal to men. Also, the Founding Fathers worked to unify each new state as one America, which is the exact opposite of what I see now. The only similarity between the protests of then and now is the LACK of diversity in those speaking up. If I were a Tea Party member, that would be a red flag for me. Wouldn’t you want to advance (a somewhat) inclusive America – not one that’s overwhelmingly white and baby boomer?
- How is this country changing so much that people “hardly recognize it?” Maybe I missed the boat, but the U.S. is fundamentally the same to me. Race, class, wealth, power and healthcare disparities are rampant, along with crime. This healthcare bill nor the election of an African-American president has changed that. But, oftentimes I think we are spoiled. We have it so good here compared to other countries, yet somehow the words “Socialist,” “Maoist,” and “dictator” have found their way into our news media’s lexicon. Do half of the people calling the president a Socialist even know how life in that type of society functions? Most likely not, since they probably have not lived outside of the U.S.
- What tangible ideas (other than loud protests) are the GOP / Tea Party members going to bring to the collective table for review? I heard lots of opposition about “Don’t kill my Grandma…” during the healthcare debate, but the GOP’s “plan” only covered 2-3 million people vs. 34 million for the Democrats. How do they plan to SAVE Grandma? What is the plan for energy, updating our education system, and tackling unemployment in an inclusive and productive fashion? For instance, everyone knows the GOP is tough on terrorism. Fine, we learned that way back in 2001. But, you can’t focus on terror 24/7 when running a nation of 300 million people. What are the substantive action steps they plan to take to SOLVE (not protest) each one of the above-mentioned items?
PJM readers … I need your feedback! Engage in discussion with me here or on our Facebook group page. This article struck the chord with me and I am sure you have asked yourselves the same or better questions. Let us know what you’re thinking about our “direction.”