Friday, April 06, 2012

“Obamacare’s” True Adversary

The Tailspin Begins by mdt1960
The Tailspin Begins, a photo by mdt1960 on Flickr.
Writing on or participating in discussions about healthcare is probably the same as kicking around the idea on whether or not God exist or what is the meaning of life. Yet, what puzzles me the most, is that unlike these latter two subjects, the Affordable Care Act is directly before us; and given we are so divided about it, well that is the most astonishing of all.

Admittedly I’m somewhat surprised that I have the energy to write about this topic, as if I have something to say that hasn’t already been considered in some other forum or context. Yet, here I go pretending such is true.

NPR reporter, Ari Shapiro reported recently in his coverage of the Republican primaries, that the rally cry generating more audience feedback from any of the candidates in the running was when they declared something akin to, “If I’m elected, the first thing I will do is repeal ‘Obamacare!’”

One has to wonder if the same spirited response would come if any of these candidates simply said, “If I’m elected, the first thing I will do is repeal universal healthcare!”

As an Anglo who has been around more than my share of dark-skinned-derogatory comments generated by fellow Whities in the course of my life, I feel pretty convinced that all of this is just another smokescreen to disguise the absolute destain this group holds for a man of color leading the country, period.

I know, I know. How dare I play the “race card.” Yet, how can one ignore it given our country’s prolific and sobering history of prejudice and racism—as if to pretend that it is so far behind us now (or never existed).

Racism is akin to cigarette smoking: for the most part, everyone knows it’s not a good thing, yet many still practice it for whatever reason. Like smoking, it will take generations to completely disappear—if it does at all. And the idea of Whites hating Blacks and vice versa shouldn’t be thought of as some relic hanging around from 200 years ago. Racism has barely had time to become stale, let alone rotten in a society that once commonly incorporated it into almost every part of our day and life. It runs deep in America and anyone who thinks otherwise is downright in denial.

That said, there is still no excuse for it. If racism had been a product of the classroom or the workplace only, we probably would be further along in overcoming it today. But, the truest fact of all is, racism is a product of the home—safely and quietly guarded by the parents who instill it in their children and can never be outlawed in the domestic setting.

Although this stealth population of “racist amongst us” aren’t too concerned about being politically correct, they know that their strong prejudice towards Blacks (or others not like them) isn’t tolerated, taken seriously, or will hold any water when it comes to elected officials of color. So, the best they can do is go after something that has his signature/name on it—much like a voodoo doll.

Had George W. Bush knocked on a poor, White, working-class individual’s door who currently opposes “Obamacare” six years ago and made them the same offer/benefits that make up today’s Affordable Care Act package, they would have signed up. However as today’s President offers the same, they turn it away and make up some lame, Constitutional-rights excuse that prevents them from feeling as if they are taking a handout from—God forbid—an African American.

But back to universal health care… Even President Obama has admitted that this healthcare plan isn’t perfect, it’s only a start. Yet, because it is his healthcare plan, those who oppose it would prefer to go back to the drawing board rather than improving on what has already been set in motion. And no doubt, the second iteration of healthcare coming from the Republicans (if given another chance) or an Anglo President will surely be received warmly even if there are negligible differences between “Obamacare” and “Whiteycare.”

One of my friends recently posted a comment regarding a conversation he had with a Canadian couple over dinner one night. After explaining how a socialized Canadian healthcare system had supported the man and his wife over the years (and mind you, he had some pretty serious health issues), he concluded with the following, “I don’t understand “Obamacare” and why it’s so controversial,” he said. “But I know that in Canada no one is ever going to lose everything they have just because they get sick.”

This is probably as good a place as any to remind the reader how old “Obamacare” really is…

“I am for people, individuals—exactly like automobile insurance—individuals having health insurance and being required to have health insurance. And I am prepared to vote for a voucher system which will give individuals, on a sliding scale, a government subsidy so we insure that everyone as individuals have health insurance.” —Newt Gingrich 1993

Really... “Obamacare” over the lackluster economy, over an ongoing war that has drained the country’s wealth, over getting our troops out of Afghanistan and other misguided conflicts around the world ASAP, over record profits notched by Exxon and company while gas prices continue to soar… Hell, I’m more worried about the drug/gang violence in Mexico spilling over onto our side of the border than mandatory universal healthcare.

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