Other industrialized nations provide universal health care, from Australia to Canada and Finland to Israel. Our Medicare and the Veterans Health Administration have demonstrated what can be done, even with a shortage of funding and focus.
Yet the current efforts to provide medical care are being met with vile and irrational hostility. Why do intelligent and good people respond so?
The indignation appears to come from like-minded folks who behave as if they are threatened, as if they have been slighted or insulted. It is familiar. It reminds me of the reaction to integration; and it seems that period of racial discord and the events now occurring share a lineage to the presidential election 149 years ago.
The object of the anger was and is the government, a government trying to legislate benevolence, trying to correct injustices and protect its citizens. Why does that make people mad?
Why are we offended when there is no offense intended?
Racism is not an adequate explanation of what is happening; it is too simple and too exclusive. Even racism, a particular form of snobbery, is a sign of something more profound.
Rush Limbaugh and others like him know what this profound thing is; they might not understand it, but they know how to use it.
There is reasonable opposition to health care. It is good. But the animosity hinders progress, and it will interfere with all progressive motions our nation tries to make.
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies.” The words were not heeded when spoken and nearly a century and a half of tragic lessons have resulted. We should be mindful now. In a family and in a democracy, humility and tolerance and compassion are vital. The development of a family and a society is the result of the actions of its members and these actions are our responses to each other. What we think of those around us and how we respond to them determines what we are and what we will become.
The Dispatch Editorial Board is made up of publisher Peter Imes, columnist Slim Smith, managing editor Zack Plair and senior newsroom staff.