A stream of consciousness rant on Health Care Reform, Mormonism, And United States Politics.

Health care costs inflate 7 to 10% every year under the current system.
Our incomes inflate at 3% per year.
If the system is not changed health care will bankrupt us, or be out of reach for everybody.

I think what’s got me riled up more than anything during this whole health care, uh, “debate” is the reaction of the Utah Mormon populace.  If ever there was a group that should happily embrace the idea of caring for others, or having “all things equal” it ought to be the group that tried living the “law of consecration” more than once in the past.

But no.

And I can’t help but wonder why.  Why has this, the reddest of the red states decided that when the time came to choose between politics and religion that it was time to confuse the two?

There was a time, not so long ago, when the majority of Mormons were moderate in their political views, going about 50/50 democrat and republican.  The church was happy to see this behavior.   And even when we drifted to the conservative side, I don’t think it was a bad thing.

No, the bad part is our bizzare embracing of the extremists within our political parties, and our absolute devotion to a party rather than analysis by topic.  The Rush Limbaughs and the Glen Becks have gained media time and our consciousness has drifted so far to the right that the moderates within our society seem by comparison to be vastly liberal.

Here’s how it works:  If you have an extreme point of view, you get air time.  It’s true of both republican and democrat talking heads.  The more extreme and shocking your subjects and content, the more viewers you get, the more advertising money you recieve, the more extreme you want to be.

Money is what has prompted people to develop this extremism on both sides.  There’s no hint of morality in the motivations of these people. From Rush to Al Franken, there’s only the positive reinforcement of bad behavior.

It’s come out most obviously in the recent health care debate.  Instead of debating the facts of the different options available to overhaul health care all we did was snipe and yell at each other.  The conservative extremists were certainly the most shown in the liberal leaning media, but I’m sure there was a liberal counterpart.   People getting up and shouting – not debating, but simply shouting.   People repeating the outright lies they heard on the radio or read in an email as absolute truth.  And the more shocking the “truth” delivered to your inbox, the more likely you are to pass it on.

(It’s no wonder then, that lies like death panels and obama’s forged birth certificate are passed off as truth.  If you listen to Rush long enough, he’ll start making sense to you.  Then everything you hear is sent through your “Rush prism” and if it doesn’t mesh with what you’ve heard, you ignore it.)

Here’s my thoughts on health care:

I believe God has given us everything.
If everything comes from God, then everybody deserves what they need.

That’s it.
Everything else is just organizing how to do it.

Of course the proposed health care system isn’t perfect.      But I demand that if you have a complaint you also present a better idea.  If all you do is tell people what they’re doing wrong then I consider you to be a drain on society and worthless to any discussion.

Finally, my hope is for a return to civility.  Let’s not ostracize those whose views are opposed to ours, but instead try to understand.  If anything let us fight against those who hold views in the extreme!   When representative Wilson shouted “You Lie!” in the middle of a speech by President Obama, he attacked not only the man whose values he disagreed with, but also the office of the President, the dignity of the congress, and our system of government itself.   Didn’t he realize he was insulting not only the man, but the millions who actively voted for him, as well as all those who died to protect our right to even have the office of the president?

Of course not.  All he could think about was fighting.

We, as a people, need to regain our grip on civility.  We must remember that when our soldiers fight and die it is for the system of government for which they perish.   We say it till it becomes almost trite:  “they fight for our freedoms.”  Why can’t we seem to recognize that freedom comes with a price to be paid by every citizen?  It’s not just the blood of soldiers that allows us to cast our ballots, to speak our minds, and to change our lives at will; but it’s the suffering of each of us in turn as we all find at some time or another that the election didn’t go our way, or that the bank foreclosed on us, or that our business failed, and so on.

A life of freedom means a life of obligation and sacrifice as well; and never a life of complete entitlement.

Yet as we think about these truths we must remember how much higher we fly, how much brighter we shine, as a nation united in seeking mutual benefit over partisan politics.  Our sacrifices lift us higher, and our mistakes don’t bind us when we remember to embrace the ideals of unity and harmony that were laid down as the foundation of this, the greatest country on the earth today.

So when the vote doesn’t go your way, stop griping.  Don’t say such hateful things as “so-and-so is going to destroy the country.”  Instead consider saying “I’m glad the system still lets even those I disagree with have a voice.”  Then go to work with them and improve the world.

I thank God for a system that allows us to change and grow, even when some of us don’t want to.  I’m grateful that I can choose to help and be helped; that I can be so much more because I am a one of many.  Let’s not divide ourselves, but look for ways to unify.

 

-Greg

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One Response to “A stream of consciousness rant on Health Care Reform, Mormonism, And United States Politics.”

  1. rypoc Says:

    You bring up some great points that many people would benefit from keeping in mind. Where’d you get your information on inflation at the beginning of your post?


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