"isms" are bad for your Health (care)
I won’t get into the debate of whether health care is a right or not, or whether the proposed health care reform is an attack on capitalism and an attempt to implant socialism as the dominant ideology in U.S. politics, because that isn’t the issue. In fact that highlights the danger of focusing on ideals and ideologies. People fight to defend whatever ideal or ideology they happen to subscribe to, instead of dealing with the problem at hand. Finding a solution to the problem then becomes secondary to a battle of ideologies.
Asking simple questions to identify problems, creating possible solutions then enacting them is the approach President Obama seems to be taking. This is post partisan politics.
President Obama’s simple question on health care was: Should a 53 year old woman who was dying of cancer have been more worried about paying her medical bills than getting well?
Who that 53 year old woman is, is irrelevant. Could have been anyone across the U.S. His answer to the question was no. I’d answer the same. That answer throws up problems. He is trying to create solutions to those problems. He isn’t trying to find a solution based on socialism. He isn’t trying to find a solution based on capitalism. He’s trying to find a solution that is better than the status quo.
Meanwhile others (including those within his own party) "bicker" about whether that solution is too socialist, not socialist enough, too capitalist, not capitalist enough and set about defending their world views. “Special interests” lobby to achieve the outcome they want, and extremists (on both sides) engage in all sorts of strange activities. All at the expense of finding a solution that works.
Politics has become about defending a world view at the expense of solving problems. As such politics is broken. The president seems to be trying to "fix" that by suggesting something different. A different politics, where self interest gives way to collaboration and ideologies give way to movement to find solutions. Surrendering beliefs and values is not what it's about. Recognises that creating and maintaining relationships is as important as values. That being biased towards actions that makes improvement (whatever end of the political spectrum those actions originate from) is what it's about.
There is much talk about the evils of welfare, about encouraging dependence on the state, even encouraging laziness or lack of responsibility. But it seems that’s more to do with people’s ideological world view than what’s actually happening.
These people aren’t “lazy”. They are people who are simply let down by the current system. There’s millions like them. It isn’t about redistributing wealth, it isn’t about socialism. It’s about asking what can realistically be done to help people like these as well as those in worse situations. Whichever “ism” you subscribe to is of no use to these people. Practical solutions are what they need. President Obama is trying to offer one.
It’s not even about finding a perfect solution, just a solution that has a good chance of working and is better than the current state of affairs. A solution that will most certainly need improvement and refining over time, but is better than the current state of affairs. A somewhat inelegant, rag-tag, socialist-capitalist, democrat-republican mongrel of a solution, that is still better than the current state of affairs. There is a space in between what there is now and the ultra-rationalised, government run, private-sector-killing health care system that people are afraid of. President Obama with the help of congress and the American people is trying to find that space.
President Obama seems to be promoting a message to stop bickering about whether the solution to health care is based on your favourite “ism” and start creating a solution that will work. I tend to agree with that message. After all isn’t that exactly what politics is: practical decision making?
When debate focuses on the defence of ideology, “isms” turn into a barrier, “isms” make creating solutions difficult, “isms” become a pain, “isms” get people killed. What’s needed is less bickering over “isms”. What's needed is more pragmati . . . more problem solving.