Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Democracy, Health Care, and Faith in People

In order for one to believe in true democracy they must have a great faith in people. In order for democracy to remain anything other than oppressive, neglecting the minority in favor of the majority, putting the few in the fire for the benefit of the many, the majority of people must have the noble ability to think outside themselves. If I, satisfied with where I am, find myself in the majority then there will be no reason for any real change to respond to the needs of the suffering other. Unless the majority exercises real compassion, democracy will lead not to the greatest good for everyone, rather it will lead to the greatest good for the greatest class, the majority group... without compassion, what's keeping the majority from simply putting all illegal immigrants into concentration camps and work camps...? Wouldn't that boost our economy? Wouldn't that make "sense"? Democracy, for it to become anything other than oppression, requires a compassionate majority who are will to do more than just what makes "sense" for themselves. Democracy requires a compassionate majority that is capable of seeing outside their own satisfaction, a majority willing to sacrifice for the good of the minority.

Unfortunately, the health care debate and all the rhetoric surrounding it has caused me to question my faith in people and thus my faith in democracy. Whenever I hear things like, "most Americans are satisfied with their health care" or "we have the best health care in the world" or "I am fine with my health care," I question my faith. Can we not be that compassionate majority? Can we not remember those without? Can we not think of the minority who would love to be satisfied with their health care if only they could afford it in the first place? If we cannot see that something must be done, something has to change for the other, we are failing to see outside ourselves and we are failing at democracy.

7 comments:

The Thief said...

The problem lies somewhere in the doctrine of Original Sin. Compassionate Democracy expects us to look out for the minority, the oppressed, the widow and the orphan, and the alien among us.

Our fallen nature dictates that we look out for me, myself, and mine.

And so therein fails democracy to be compassionate.

Nate said...

And what of those who disagree with the proposed plan, like myself...are we in moral failure?

democracy attempts to find the best solution for the whole...perhaps those who voice opposition to a proposed plan are not merely thinking egocentrically, but actually for the good of the whole.

WES ELLIS said...

Theif, good thoughts.

Nate, which part of which proposed plan do you disagree with? From where I am sitting, it seems there has been so much opposition and so much exchange of rhetoric that no one's been able to settle on anything. Disagree with the plan if there's something wrong with it, sure, and there is no moral failure in that. But what I am most frustrated with is the perspective that seems to think that no reform is necessary at all. There are those who are not willing to comromise their own in order to see that their brother or sister does not go without... no matter what plan the president proposes, they will oppose it because their situation is satifactory to them. There are parts of the plan that I am not totally satified with too... but something must be done now and so I am willing to compromise.

We need to find a solution which assures health care to all. We should not settle for a bad plan but at the same time we need to be willing to compromise in order to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters.

nate said...

Wes,
Besides the fact that NO ONE, including myself, comprehensibly knows why they should support or distance themselves from the plan (since we don't know what the plan really includes--it is behemoth), my stance begins with human responsibility.

For the past 100 years, in the name of egocentricity, Americans have been abdicating all the responsibilities of adulthood on the government. Whereas a family USED to provide for and take care of their elderly parents in their old age, we have pushed that responsibility on government (social security): No different are Education, life insurance, social welfare, etc.; They USED to be a family task...but now we immorally thirst for more time and toys.

Besides the fact that a government rarely (as in never) out performs a private institution, I think it is immoral to assume my Christian duty upon the government.

I do not think it is fair to assume that because someone does not support this plan they are neglecting the poor and the widow...I most certainly am not.

My outlook on human responsibility, my observances of all other governmental interventions, and reading of many tenants of the plan, make it morally impossible for me to support it.

Post enlightenment Christianity, turns to political structures in place of God. I do to, quite often. Legislation may be necessary here and there, particularly in the area of limitations regarding lawsuits, but I am sick of pushing off on the government that which God charged me with...

I hope this came off as, non argumentative...just trying to show my position. Admittedly, i could have done better...but I am fitting this into a ten minute break at work!
Cheers!

WES ELLIS said...

Nate,
I agree with you in some ways, but how can we put the responsibility of health care on families when it's so unaffordable? If we expect our government to defend us militarily, we should also expect them to make going to the doctor a feasible option.

nate said...

I suppose this is just a fundamental ideological, not moral discussion. I will say, on a salary of 40k a year I manage to provide for my family of six (wife is stay at home mom) including health care. But then again, I have to suffer without cable television, my wife an I share one vehicle, we go out to eat perhaps only two times a year, etc, etc...but we are really happy.

The whole crux of my argument is that the government enabled the country to become a society of consumers. Easing the burden of individual responsibility on yet another issue is just opening the door for more spending on things that go with one to the grave.

Now, I KNOW that there are those that slip through the cracks...life deals them a blow, and even with the utmost determined responsibility, they are unable to provide health care...that's where the church is supposed to come in.

The Largest provider of health care in the US is the Catholic Church. And believe it or not, it (not the doctors it employs) is non profit. Local and abroad, they provide more free health care than any other governmental agency. But even this, not for profit, visage of Christ is unable to cope with the high costs of liability insurance from excessive grievance claims. this is where I feel the government should get involved.

We both want the same thing: coverage for all. I just see the government, regardless of party control, as being currently and historically inefficient, manipulative, and power hungry.

WES ELLIS said...

Nate,
your $40,000 is a pretty good salary in this discussion. I'm talking about the many people who make much less. For what it's worth you might want to know that I cannot afford health care for myself at $30,000 much less for a family... and that's without paying rent... I live with my parents and my student loans make health care impossible right now... that's what I get for working in the church. I don't consider myself uneducated or lazy. I have a career job in the field of my education and even I do not have health care.

I would like to see the church be the solution to the problem but the church doesn't seem to think it's a problem. I am happy that the Catholic church has done something.

For now, until the church provides a real alternative, I expect the government to provide health care... we're willing to let them pay for defense and for education... why not health care. That's a minimal expectation if you ask me.