Health care reform is, when push comes to shove, when the fat lady sings, when our history will be written and perhaps a legacy established, the only measure that matters. Politics be damned: health care reform is a reflection of our moral standards. It is a verdict on our very values.
Yes: the United States is strapped financially, perhaps even verging on being broke. However, it is high time for us to pull inwards. Stop the wars and start the peace. Cease nation building abroad and make it so here at home. Aren’t we just about the kindest and most sympathetic country you have ever seen? Building schools in Asia, providing health care in Africa, and playing the most ridiculous political games here in America to get the same job done. To place health care reform on the back burner would be a total failure. Our Congress has never acted fast in response to any emergency, except of course to decide to go to war, and often, those knee-jerk decisions were made as measures of total revenge, without thought as to who the real enemy was, what the right military tactics should be and without consideration of an exit strategy.
Values. What principles, human beings and costs are worth it? This health care debate is so much more than the mere words of its proposed legislation. It is a struggle between our hunger for outer dominance and our vital need for inner morality. Too bad we have to choose and play one off against the other. In the past, the choice was not so “either/or” in nature. Now it is. As we have neglected our values, the trade-offs have become more severe.
Finally, how can we hope to export values abroad if we do not demonstrate those same values right here at home? Shall we take care of our own, provide the same basic human needs on our home ground as we do abroad, envelope a value structure that heals rather than harms? Health care reform is about priorities. The sacrifice and cost of sending an additional 34,000 troops to Afghanistan must be judged in light of the need at home. Values must come into play now more than ever because we cannot afford to do it all. If we do not take care of our own, we will not have a viable country. So why are we “defending” ourselves against outside forces when the internal pressures just might be the end of us?