On Sunday, our House of Representatives voted in favor of healthcare reform. It was a hotly debated topic and the votes were close, but healthcare reform it is. However, as we have been working to make our health care system one we can all have access to, the current negativity and divisive language used recently to stir up and sway votes has resulted in inexcusable behavior from both parties. Whether we join hateful groups on Facebook or tweet angered assumptions for thousands of followers to read, I’m concerned we are all putting our country’s current tremulous situation at further risk.
Somehow, with luck on our side, my family is healthy. And when we are not so healthy we check our symptoms, hem and haw, and decide if we need to head to the doctor. In the grand scheme of most health insurance woes, our $25 co-pay is realistic enough.
But my friend’s isn’t. Her co-pay to see a doctor is $100. With one parent working, and her inability to even afford basic cable, she rarely takes any of her three children to the doctor. In our country (with an apparent reputation as a world power), we have hundreds of thousands of parents who cannot afford to take their children to the doctor, let alone afford the prescribed medication once they do get there.
Let me state the obvious: we need reform.
But how has this struggle for reform led to the sort of anger, attacks, misinformation and fearful bigotry we’ve witnessed recently? I have been shocked by reactions, by signs being carried by Tea Party members, by racial epithets slung at leaders, by Facebook status’ and twitter calls for our president’s assassination.
How has this quest for equal access to health care been transformed and currently communicated as some warped version of over-priced socialism being legislated by bunch of baby killers?
How has this kind of fear mongering resulted in effective politicking?
I get that this health care reform bill may not be perfect. I get the fear of big government. I get the concerns about the cost of all of this. I get that this is going to mean a whole lot of awkward change coming down the pike. And we have every right to question and discuss and debate these issues.
But the venom, the slander, the anger, the bigotry and the haphazard distribution of misinformation just to stir further slander, anger and bigotry will get nothing done.
I am all for protesting when you disagree – I love this country for that right. I am all for our parties disagreeing – disagreement will only push us to work harder for a better agreed upon outcome. I even understand not liking your current president – that was me last administration. But we have to get a hold of ourselves now, and this goes for both parties. I see this destructive new brand of politics snowballing and potentially green lighting not more votes for our respective leaders, but potentially dangerous outcomes in this country.
I’ve personally seen enough so I am pledging from here on out not to jump on the hate mongering bandwagon. I’ve decided to avoid any Facebook groups which don’t promote constructive positive change. I won’t be retweeting hate or bashing politicians. I won’t take catty television pundits word for it. I will branch out my news sources in search of actual fair and balanced news reporting. I won’t play this game. And I can only hope fellow citizens with both similar and other political ideals might consider the same. Hate isn’t getting either party anywhere. Let’s get a grip on ourselves before some real damage is done.
Caroline writes about parenting, politics, pondering and panicking about it all at her own blog Morningside Mom.