Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Notes from Walter Barton on my Poll

On OP-Ed News I have been running this poll for several months. I am interested in all the comments and the results. Read some thoughtful comments by Walter Barton on the questionn:

What is the root cause in delay for health care for all?

According to H.G. Wells, ""A downtrodden class ... will never be able to make an effective protest until it achieves solidarity."

A German newspaper, DIE ZEIT, did a multipiece article on American's "fear of solidarity" which has hurt America--and Americans--in its progress to more universal health care.

Is the inability of America to take care over most of its weakest and endangered residents, the result of _____________ ?

Mr. Barton wrote (Part 1)

Fear of the Word Socialism

If healthcare for all Americans were made available, through something like the Canadian, French or British systems, then it would magically be called "socialism".

Too many Americans equate public healthcare to socialism out of fear. They express strong disapproval of even the concept of public healthcare. In the vernacular, our healthcare system sucks and is in desperate need of overhaul. The insurance companies have a monopoly and don't want to let it go. That's capitalism at its height. When do we get rid of the notion that this is good for America?

Mr. Barton continued (Part 2)

A complex question you pose. The emotion of fear is not easily rooted in this case, as many factors may contribute to the overall, general sense of anxiety. If one were to look at the nation in the singular form, i.e. a collection of individuals making up the whole of the nation, you would get the sense that there is an excessive anxiety with apprehensive expectations of what socialism would do to the perceived ideal of the national character.

For myself, the national character is rooted in our Constitution and from that we get a sense of self-worth. For example, many have a repugnance to bringing the detainees from our base in Cuba to the U.S. They reprehend that they will "lawyer up" and be of no use to us in the fight against terrorism. I, for one, think they should be "lawyered up" so we can demonstrate to the world that we are a just people with a just cause. In other words, I believe that one is considered innocent until proven guilty and in order to prove the guilt of these people, we need to have them stand trial in our court system. The ideal national character seems to be different for me than to those who wish to impose different laws on aliens than we do for ourselves. Our efforts should be to spread this system of governance by example, not by force.

Our recent history involved a great battle with opposing ideological systems--fascism and communism. With fascism, a political system that argues in favor of an authoritarian hierarchy, the people have no say in how they are treated. With communism, a political system that ideally favors a classless society and abolishes private ownership, again people have no say. We have seen this with Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Mao, etc. This is fresh in the minds of many of the older population. More recently there has been Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, Khomeini, etc. All of these types of governance are as foreign to our way of thinking as were the kingdoms and empires that ruled at our birth of a nation.

Socialism and communism are not the same thing yet this seems to be a hinge on which many are basing their conclusions upon. In other words, healthcare run by the government is socialism. But with only a few key strokes, one can easily find that socialism refers to economic control by the public ownership of the means of production and allocation of resources of the economy. Healthcare in the U.S. is not the economy.

Lacking the skills to actually look up what is being excoriated about the healthcare debate may have more to do with education than with erroneous fears. The fears may have roots in race and class with minorities having a history of suppression. The moneyed whites keeping control through capitalistic means and thus forming a class of people. The less moneyed whites exerting their power on those minorities and thus forming yet another class. And so on. But for healthcare, I don't think most citizens fear it being socialized.

If we, as Americans, consider ourselves to be a nation and view that nation as our family, then there would be no fear of socialized medicine.

But if you have money, lots and lots of money, and you can control the government by putting out crap that is misleading or untrue by influencing the public toward all the wrong conclusions. Power and money are the root of the fear but it is the fear of losing the power and/or the money by those that have it that has lead us into this debate. The haves are the ones who want to continue this path for their own profit. The ones who want any healthcare reform to fail are those who either cannot think through the process or have maligned the process for their own gain regardless of the nation as a whole. Play on the misguided fears of the nation and reap the money coming in. It is greed and capitalism at its best.

Later to a comment of mine, Mr. Barton wrote (Part 3):

Thanks for the perspective; however, I use the term in a broad sense. The term, socialized medicine, has been around a hundred years. President Roosevelt, the Republican, first tried to get universal healthcare and some kind of national health insurance program started. By the "30's, the conservative began expressing disapproval of the idea. With the Democratic Roosevelt, the AMA began to take on that conservative tone, probably in fear of loss of income/power, equating a socialized medical option as a loss of democracy. By the time of Truman, the AMA had increased its opposition to any such ideas, and this we need to remember was the beginning of the Cold War and the time of the rise of McCarthyism. During the "50's and "60's the campaign against any sort of healthcare reform for the elderly was under the AMA's guise of Operation Coffee Cup with Reagan making that famous album.

And now we have the same Bircher mentality with the Tea Party Movement of fighting communism and conspiracies within the government. Just can't have that socialized medicine, can we? We'll all turn into communists or socialists.

Check out these and other comments on my polls at:



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