Salmon Upstream, LLC

Developing and implementing real-world community solutions.

United We Stand

If you read nothing else of the prattle I produce, I beg you to take the time to read this one through.

If you read nothing else of the prattle I produce, I beg you to take the time to read this one through.

Yesterday I received an email from a friend I have known for 35 years. We went to school together, college together. He helped me get through my government class at William and Mary because I was a science guy and hated politics. Through 34 of those years we talked of girls and movies and rock climbing and then marriage and movies and rock climbing. And about a year ago we stopped talking, because the political climate had all but made us enemies. Only recently have we bridged that gap, and are now committed to figuring out what is going on and how to fix it.

In the email he says:

“Good article that pretty clearly lays out the differences of the two parties, not just on healthcare, but on life in general.”

Here is the article. But I am going to paste the text here and comment on it to try – for the love of all that we hold sacred – try to show you what I am on about:

“The debate over Ryancare has opened a window into the divergent souls of Democrats and Republicans.

A look through that window reveals that their competing positions on health care are animated by fundamental differences in what they value, and how they perceive the role of government.

Democrats believe that the power of government should be used to improve people’s lives.

Republicans believe that the power of government should be used to create an even playing field. Government’s role is to provide opportunity. Armed with that opportunity, people are free to improve their lives or not, as they see fit.”

  • OK, not so bad so far, but actually I don’t see why the government can’t do a little of both. And I don’t see why I need to connect what I feel about how to actually fix healthcare – what I believe will truly work vs. what sounds good in theory – with whether or not I want to help people or let them help themselves.

But then we go on a bit:

“This is a battle over which values will win out over others to shape the direction of our nation. And over the meaning of “freedom.” …

“For Republicans, freedom is literal and hard-edged. No squishy “freedom from want” or “freedom from care” for them. Freedom means you get to do what you want to do, for good or ill. Not to commit crimes, of course, but pretty much anything short of that.

The Republicans’ view of freedom is baked into their proposed legislation to begin the process of repealing Obamacare, the ‘American Health Care Act.'”

  • Read it again. If you can’t see that this is deeply insulting insinuation, then read it again. And keep reading until you get it. Because it says that if I don’t , support Obamacare, I am a bad person. This isn’t about the challenges of delivering healthcare, this is about values. And it’s us vs. them.

What this is really about: they – politicians – don’t want to actually try to find a solution – either side. They want to win. It’s not about the end result, it’s about victory. And that’s a victory for them, not for me or you.

The article goes on about loss of insurance for the young healthy people that were supposed to provide the money to support the ACA, but ignores what we learned from it’s implementation, that those uninsured are actually under-resourced and cost the system large amounts of money. So an underlying premise of the Affordable Care Act turned out to be not so affordable. OK, we tried (a well-meaning attempt at that), but it didn’t work, so let’s try something else.

I have been talking about the difficulties of the healthcare system in this blog, how Obamacare is addressing how we pay for healthcare, but it does nothing to reduce how much it costs… but that’s not the point. The point is that we are not discussing issues, we are fighting to win. And we are all losing because of it.

Where is the middle ground? On the one side, we have the idea that the government is supposed to help people. On the other, it makes a level playing field so you can help yourself. What about the idea that government should help those who want to help themselves? I want to help people, but I want to genuinely help people, not just feel like I am while sitting comfortably on my couch. Just because I have a different view of how best to help, that doesn’t make me the enemy. It simply makes me someone that has ideas that should be shared and discussed. But if instead you insult me – and here we are talking deep cuts to my core, to my values – then you are not going to get anywhere. We are not going to get anywhere.

You are not my enemy. This system is the enemy. And we are going to rally and fight it. We have a plan, to assail this insanity with ideals, ideas, and intellect. To any who wish to unify this great country, to continue to develop the very ways in which we coexist peacefully as Americans and citizens of the world, join us in the process.

To any who would elect to perpetuate this process and benefit from the conflict that it encourages, to any who would willingly resist an evolution to a better way, it is you that we will fight. And To paraphrase Neo: “I know you are out there. I can feel you now. I know you are afraid. You are afraid of us. You are afraid of change. I don’t know the future. I didn’t come here to tell you how this is going to end. I came here to tell you how it’s going to begin. I am going to show these people what you don’t want them to see. I am going to show them a world without you. A world where anything is possible.”