Friday, September 11, 2009

It's not just about Healthcare

President Obama is best when his back is against the wall. His smooth baritone voice, impeccable delivery and timing, and perfect strumming of heart strings were all present in his address Wednesday night. He was in campaign mode once again, but this time trying to appeal to a much broader audience. His task was daunting. He needed to rein in the base, move to the center, and somehow include the right. Most of his speech was spent on issues that should have been taken care of months ago- defending his positions, making his case, and trying to give the American people details about his plan. Perhaps the most compelling portion of his speech was the last two minutes. It was one of the most touching and heartfelt arguments for the case of Liberalism I have ever heard. It was passionate, articulate, and most of all believable. There is only one problem. Does America really want a liberal federal Government? The country voted for Democrats, but did they understand Obama’s liberal agenda and its consequences? Did America vote for Obama or simply against the GOP and Bush?

The healthcare debate challenges our founding fathers’ fundamental view of American government. Those who say otherwise are badly mistaken. Our ancestors came to this great country to start a new way of life. One that was free of an overreaching government. America did not become the greatest and most powerful nation in history by following the lead of others. We forged our own way by the ingenuity and brilliance of truly free people. Immigrants flock to this country not on the promise of entitlement programs, but a belief that anything is possible through hard work and perseverance. Now, we are being told to look to Europe for a better way of living?

In our lifetimes, we will hear thousands of promises from politicians. Rarely do any of them come to fruition. I sympathize with those who truly struggle with the costs of healthcare. I feel even worse for those who believe this healthcare plan will provide care equal to that of a self insured millionaire. Democrats are making promises they simply cannot keep. It is hope, but false hope. Look at other examples of government programs. Does our welfare system really help people advance their lives or does it often trap generation after generation in a never ending cycle of poverty? Does Social Security really provide security? Do our veterans get the healthcare or benefits they need or deserve? Does Medicare provide adequate care for seniors? While these programs began with good intentions, they have made millions of Americans dependant on government. No one believes these programs should be stopped but simply saying they provide some benefit is not good enough. If our government cannot properly care for those who fought for this country, our poor, and our elderly, why does anyone believe they can provide a quality healthcare system for the rest of us?

The Democratic Party is missing the point. The tea parties, town hall meetings, and protests are not about healthcare. They are a reaction to government intrusion into our private lives. President Obama speaks in sweeping metaphorical and philosophical language about why we should morally support healthcare reform. He falls short when it comes to the details. No one wants those in need to suffer. Most Americans agree it is time for healthcare reform but the current bill is full of bureaucracy. Many of us have legitimate concerns fueled by our own logic not “scare tactics”. We are not mean spirited individuals who think the country’s poor should be left to squander, but responsible citizens who want the freedom to make decisions about the course of our own lives. Our government should represent us but allow us to govern ourselves.


John Schmalzbauer said...

Great to hear from the other "Evangelical Epicenter" community in the Patchwork Nation project. Doubly good to read a thoughtful explanation of why conservatives are skeptical of the Obama agenda that does not talk about death panels, birth certificates, or fascism. This sense that fiscal conservatism is more in keeping with the tradition of the founders can also be found in the Missouri Ozarks. Emily Beaty conveys this sentiment in a refreshingly civil tone.

John Schmalzbauer said...

I should add that plenty of conservative and libertarian commentators follower Emily Beaty's approach and pen thoughtful critiques of Obama's policies. I'm thinking of publications like Reason magazine and columnists like George Will. Unfortunately, this style does not extend to talk radio (most of the time) or to cable news (FOX News and MSNBC are both offenders in this area).

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