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Archive for the ‘Health Care Bill’ Category

I love it that my diverse circle of friends includes people of different faiths and different political parties.  Even within my marriage, we represent views from the right and from the left.  One reason it works, though, is that we both listen respectfully to the other person’s point of view and try to find opportunities to grow from our different perspectives.  If I was a politician I would be accused of being a “waffler” or  someone who doesn’t have strong beliefs.  Nothing could be further from the truth, however, and I think that as people of faith, it is up to us to find the common ground that we have in our community.

I was tempted to engage in some Facebook drama over some comments from a few of my friends as they posted reactions to the new health care bill, but as my incredibly bright daughter cautioned, it wouldn’t be wise or productive to do that.  But, I do feel moved enough by the debate to blog about it.

One person posted a “musical” montage about how Obama is the Great Reneger where apparently the issue is that they want to see more on CSPAN about the inner workings of the government, like he promised in his campaign speeches.  I can’t intelligently respond, because I don’t have time to watch CSPAN for hours, so I don’t know how much of the inner workings are televised, but I am trying to understand how much more involved the average person really wants to be in the way the government is run.  I feel that I have as much information as I want at my fingertips about what is happening and am able to email my representatives whenever something is on my mind.  I’m wondering though, how productive is it to the running of our government to post an inflammatory video on Facebook?

The other comment that I was tempted to respond to was a statement made by one of my former students that requiring people to have health insurance is a form of socialism and that he is completely against that. He fears the future implications that it has for our country.  While I am thrilled that one of my former students is speaking up for our rights, I wonder if he has the breadth of experience to denounce the entire new legislation for broader health insurance coverage.  As an upper middle class high school student, I wonder if he has ever been sick, but unable to afford to go to the doctor?  Has he ever had to choose between taking a child with a fever to the doctor or buying groceries for the week?

Well, I have.  We had some very lean times when I went back to school as a single mother.  Brittany was 5 and Danielle was 3 and we had just moved to Miami, survived Hurricane Andrew and were trying to get by on help from my parents, student loans, and some income from giving piano lessons in my living room.  Child support was sporadic as my ex dealt with a career change.  We  had no health insurance and had very carefully budgeted $50 per week for food.  There was no discretionary money back then.  No money for movies, entertainment, or luxuries of any kind.

Once when Brittany had a high fever, we spent our week’s’ grocery money at the pediatrician’s office.  When she was found to have an ear infection, the doctor prescribed an antibiotic, which would have cost another $50, but since he knew that we couldn’t afford it, he graciously gave us free samples of the medicine.  After that we applied for and received Medicaid until I was employed as a teacher, as well as food stamps for a few weeks.

Suzy Smith of Leesburg had a great letter to the editor in yesterday’s Orlando Sentinel about the smugness of people who think that they will never be in that situation.  Perhaps I was in that situation because of poor life choices.  Maybe others who have never been in that situation have simply made better choices than I did.  The fact is, that health care is out of reach for many and taking steps to take care of the health of people in our nation is an important goal and an important achievement for this administration, especially as we take care of our children.  The latest issue is a debate about insuring children with pre-existing conditions. Instead of digging in our heels and opposing whatever comes from the other side from the one that we are on, we need to take this opportunity to use our differences to see all sides of the issues.

A few years ago our church was having some conflict about building a new sanctuary.  There were people who felt that we had outgrown the old one and that with the new people moving into the area, it was time to build a new facility.  There were others who feared that with all of our financial resources going to a fancy new building, our work with missions would be compromised.  It was important to have both voices involved in this as we went forward in our churches development.  This kept us focused on missions, while also expanding our space to continue to be a welcoming church.

Different perspectives in politics keep us centered as a nation and help us to see all sides to the issues.  Watching inflammatory political commentators and sending media messages purely for the purpose of provoking a reaction from the other side is counter-productive to what we need to accomplish.  Instead, let’s focus on what the real problems are, try to see the other side, and work on solutions and unity instead of division.

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