Over the next few months, the editors of Parents.com will report on hot-button election issues that American families face today, from healthcare to education. In the spirit of offering diverse perspectives on the election, we've chosen three moms from across the political spectrum to be guest bloggers on Parents News Now. Each one of them will offer a unique take on the topics that they–and you!–are most passionate about. (Read the entire blog series.)
By Suzanne Venker
So I was walking back from my neighbor's house about an hour after the health care ruling and saw my other neighbor Wilson heading out to his car. "Welcome to your new taxes!" I shouted.
It was a pretty bold move, even for me. I've had maybe three conversations with Wilson (that's his first name) in total, so I have no idea where he stands politically. But in a characteristically hasty moment, I decided it didn't matter. The latest health care ruling is already galvanizing Americans. I can feel it.
"I'm leaving the country!" Wilson shouted back.
"There's nowhere else to go. This was it!"
"Canada?" he asked rhetorically. (I hope.)
"How 'bout Australia?"
"At least you'll be far away from the mess here!"
My conversation with Wilson came on the heels of the one I had had several minutes earlier with the mother of my across-the-street neighbor. Donna had arrived early so that her daughter, a mother of two young girls, could take a 5-mile run before the Midwest heat reached record temperatures. Donna is 68, retired from the social security department, and very pissed off--although I hesitate to use this phrase. She's so sweet even her angry seems nice. Mainly, Donna is just aghast that anyone would support ObamaCare.
"Do you think people don't understand the ramifications?" I asked.
"No, I don't think they do," she said. "I had lunch the other day with a group of liberal friends and when the subject came up all they said was that everyone's entitled to free health care." But, she added, don't ask them to explain how that would work exactly. "They have no idea."
In other words, I said, it just sounds good.
And therein lies the chasm between two very distinct groups of Americans. The Left is motivated largely by emotion. If something sounds good or just, it should be embraced--regardless of its feasibility. Conservatives (and independents, for that matter) know better. Leftists can also be elitist. If someone doesn't agree with their position, he must be educated so he can see things more clearly. Obama is famous for that attitude. When The People reject his policies, he insists he just hasn't explained himself well. The condescension is so palpable I almost feel sorry for him. Almost.
Of course the idea of universal health care sounds good. (So does the idea of everyone being equally rich.) But where will the money come from? And what's the fallout? The question is not, as Democrats claim, that Republicans don't care about the poor or have a love affair with the rich. It's that Republicans' ideas and plans for how to make something work differ dramatically from the ideas and plans of those on the other side.
To Obama supporters, it's all so simple: When we need money for an entitlement (a word they hate since it implies a gift, not a right), we tax everyone in order to pay for it. Doesn't matter how much we need or how many plans we come up with; as long as Democrats appeal to people's emotions, they have a winning strategy. "Tax the rich!" they shout. (Or, "End discrimination against women! They have a right to free birth control!") Putting in such terms sounds so equitable: These guys over here have too much, while these other guys over here have too little. Let's even it out.
But it's never that simple--even if ObamaCare were just, which it's not. The concept of universal health care rests on the notion that every person in America is entitled to health care. But that umbrella--and it bears repeating, the health of every single American--is so vast there's no way to cover expenses without sucking everyone dry.
According to Merriam-Webster, the word health means "the condition of being sound in body, mind, or spirit." How can it be right that every single American is entitled to be sound in body, mind, or spirit (and all this implies) through no effort or sacrifice of his own? Unless, of course, you believe one's health is always out of one's hands. Which it isn't.
What's the point of eating right and exercising, for example--or being a non-smoker, or being smart with one's sexuality, if the person sitting next to you can do the opposite and still be rewarded? Reminds me of an eighth-grade student I once had (when I taught middle school) who worked her tail off all year to get a C+ in my class while her friends did nothing and got Fs. Doesn't matter, the administration told me. "You have to pass those students, Suzanne. We have to move them on to the high school."
And what about the long lines Americans will have to wait in? And the substandard doctors people who can't afford to buy out of the plan will get as a result of ObamaCare? That's not a scare tactic, that's reality. And, I might add, an obvious one. Like the public schools in which I once taught, any system that's rife with bureaucracy is doomed to fail. That's why the private sector is so crucial. Let it work, and it will work for you. Cut off its supply and chaos ensues.
The only good thing about yesterday's decision is that it makes the choice in November crystal clear. The power is now in the hands of the people, where it belongs. A vote for Obama means the end of America as we know it. Welcome to Europe. A vote for Romney means an opportunity to get on track. To do that, we need a health care system that empowers patients, reduces cost, and ensures access.
For an opposing view on the healthcare ruling, see Supreme Court Decision ObamaCare: We Should Rejoice and Why the Safely Insured Should Care About Universal Health Care.