Lakoff begins this short essay with …
“It is time for Democrats to talk about health in those terms, beyond just policy terms like health insurance reform, bending the cost curve, types of exchanges, etc.”
He is right, but I propose that it is not nearly enough for Democrats to do that. The whole country needs to begin to do that.
It is past time for us to begin to recognize that slanderous opinions, spin, slanting our reports and interpretations, and outright lying about fundamental questions in human life harm all of us.
We are well on the way to becoming a nation of lobbyists – a nation of people with no respect for the truth, life, freedom, or … health.
Rabbi David Wolpe and his writing have been important for me in a number of ways. I am a great admirer of this man. I find the following, written in the wake of the disaster in Haiti, wise, and I recommend it to my friends.
Read here: David Wolpe in the Washington Post.
Go back almost a century, to the time when the modern corporation was created, and you’ll find laws that prohibit or limit the use of corporate money in elections. And yet this week, a 5-4 Supreme Court struck down the limits that Congress passed in 2002 in this tradition in the case Citizens United v. FEC.
Click here to go to a very interesting interview with him. If you haven’t read anything of his, I recommend Motherless Brooklyn.
Here’s a bit from the interview: ‘The secret is that you can’t teach writing. You can only teach editing and listening….’
David Brooks in the NY Times writes about the tenor of public impatience with public institutions. “Many people seem to be in the middle of a religious crisis of faith. All the gods they believe in — technology, technocracy, centralized government control — have failed them in this instance.”
Our modern tendency to understand human beings as analogues of computers, which I have begun to call “compumorphizing, gives this kind of result.
This link has the President speaking historically about a battle with the healthcare industry over a patient’s bill of rights stretching over decades.
I pray that the extension of care to uncovered citizens that he believes will be now provided, and that this fight is now over. For decades the insurance industry (and other parts of the healthcare industry) have spent astonishing amounts of their customers’ money to aim an army of marketers in the guise of lobbyists at the telling of tall tales, lies, and murderous interpretations about that industry’s behavior to those who we elected to govern the nation. About the nature of the army that has been fighting against healthcare for all of our citizens, the President is right, but I think that the fight is by no means over, and that his words will end up more fuel for partisan fires.
The biggest part of the problem lies with us. I guess that holding the healthcare industry accountable, while a paramount issue, is by no means the crux of the issue of our ‘best of times/worst of times’ healthcare system.
The core of the fight, I think, is over what kinds of human beings we think we are, and what we are going to be concerned with, and right now far too many of us are afraid of the wrong things, ambitious for the wrong things, willing to commit ourselves to care for the wrong things.
When our people was a baby, and in the hands of people named Jefferson and Adams, here is what they said about what we were up to:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. ….”
“We are incompetent for communication,” my friend Fernando Flores said in a speech in the early 1980s. The we is you and I, and the citizens of this country, and one of the areas in which we are presently harvesting the benefits of that incompetence is in our healthcare.