This is why I reject *both* parties in American politics... (rant coming... change the channel if you'd like)
Politics is one of those topics you're not supposed to discuss in polite company because it's divisive and often generates more smoke than heat. It's also right up there next to religion in terms of beliefs that people will adhere to and identify with regardless of whether a particular element makes sense or has been shown to be completely false. It's why we can have a thousand cable and satellite channels of programming... people will do anything to get their daily dose of confirmation bias.
However, now that I'm into my second half-century of life on earth, I'd like to think that I'm finally questioning more and blindly following less. I know there are still values and beliefs I hold true, but I'm more open to realizing that no one group has the right, adequate, or practical answers to everything. There are times when you have to admit and accept that answers that address the "greater good" can come from anywhere, even from the groups that you claim to despise and that you decry as idiots.
I've been feeling this for a while now, but it clobbered me over the head this evening when I read this:
PolitiFact's Lie of the Year: 'A government takeover of health care'
Let's get some housekeeping out of the way first... I'm registered as "non-affiliated" as an Oregon voter. It used to be "independent", until someone had the bright idea to create an official Independent Party in Oregon, and the government thought it'd be a good idea to let people think that non-affiliated and independent were synonymous terms. I work for a health insurance company. I think the current system is horribly broken and unsustainable. I have a son with a life-threatening condition who will be uninsured in a few weeks unless I find something to replace his coverage on our insurance. And finally, I believe that a certain baseline level of universal coverage is a moral obligation of a society... not "I deserve access to have access to $100K treatments to survive three more months", but "someone shouldn't die because they can't afford insurance for type 1 diabetes *and* buy food". Also, spare me the libertarian "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" crap. Sometimes life deals someone a really shitty hand through no fault of their own, and "too bad, I guess you die" isn't what this country was morally founded upon. I realize there's a line that needs to be drawn somewhere in that "baseline universal coverage" belief. No, I don't know where it is, nor whether it's stationary and doesn't ever shift. I'm also not sure I trust anyone to be wise enough to determine the line's placement. Sometimes decisions are like that...
Now, back to the topic at hand...
Read the article I linked to (since you chose to read this blog entry in the first place). Read the whole thing. It's more than 140 characters, but hang in there.
Get down toward the end to this part:
"When Obama proposed his health plan in the spring of 2009, Luntz, a Republican strategist famous for his research on effective phrases, met with focus groups to determine which messages would work best for the Republicans. He did not respond to calls and e-mails from PolitiFact asking him to discuss the phrase.
The 28-page memo he wrote after those sessions, "The Language of Healthcare 2009," provides a rare glimpse into the art of finding words and phrases that strike a responsive chord with voters."
The paragraphs following that are mind-boggling to me. Republican (and I'll argue that you can generalize this to "Political") leadership is not trying to solve the issue of health care. They're not trying to do what's best for the country or for society. They're focusing on one frickin' thing... getting elected in order to stay in power. Mind you, it's not an attempt to get elected (or stay elected) so that they can *then* focus on the larger problems. To them, the only larger problem is how to stay in power and keep their jobs.
I'm sure there are Republican (and political) officials who truly believe the lies (yes, *lies*) that were exposed in this article. It's not as if we haven't seen plenty of examples of stunning stupidity from city, state, and federal senators and representatives from *both* parties this year. Unfortunately, that means we either have sheeple (sheep people) leading sheeple and doing what they're told by *their* leaders, or we have leaders who will lie at any and every opportunity to have power and the money that comes with it. I'll be drastic and let you amputate a finger of mine for every honest and selfless politician you can find who is doing that job because they are willing to sacrifice and labor to better their constituency. I'm guessing I'll still be able to use my keyboard quite well when you're finished.
And in case it appears that I'm beating up on Republicans for sport, let me offer the following in counterpoint:
Obama says under Mitt Romney, "Medicare could end as we know it, leaving Julia with nothing but a voucher to buy insurance, which means $6,350 extra per year for a similar plan." (FALSE)
"Under the Romney/Ryan budget, interest rates on federal student loans would be allowed to double." (FALSE)
I could keep going, but hopefully you get the idea. And if you want to argue that PolitiFact.com is biased (in which case you missed the *entire* point of this post), then check out FactCheck.org (they also don't trust either side).
Bottom line... this "politicians lie" is not a new revelation for me. It's just appearing much more pervasive and blatant now (thank you, Internet). And I don't want any sympathy over insurance woes that I may have. Ultimately, it *is* my crap to deal with.
If I could wish for anything good to come from this post, it's simply that you stop parroting stories and statements from Democrats, Republicans, Fox, MSNBC, CNN, or any other source that condenses an intricate and complicated issue into 300 words, 3 minutes, and a sound bite for a 30 second story on the radio. THINK FOR YOURSELVES! These are problems and issues that will determine the world that you and your children live in for the rest of your lives. Do you really not think that deserves more than 60 seconds of thought and effort on your part before you form an opinion and take action?