Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hate: A Not-So-Silent Partner with Fear

As I have stated already HERE and HERE... I'm a fan of us finally addressing health care reform in this country. But the opponents, motivated by fear, are clearly not going to let anything stop them from trying to shut down this dialogue: from mobs that are showing up at town hall meetings to using Nazi symbolism to attack members of Congress. Look what went down at Rep. David Scott's headquarters in Smyrna, an Atlanta suburb.

Needless to say, the frightened right are getting out-of-control. And that's because I believe they feel that they are really "out of control". They are not able to dictate the discussion. And they see Obama's plan as making room for--eek!--other people to have access to health care, namely the poor.

I remember as a reporter asking Governor Chiles' general counsel to explain his comment about the U.S. being a "Christian nation." "When did we become a 'Christian' nation," I asked. The man frowned at me and said, "By virtue of us saying we were!" This was as a matter of fact, not opinion, that the United States, and Florida as a shining example of America, is a "Christian nation." In fact, I remember the man snarled at me in such a way so as to suggest that clearly I wasn't a Christian, or a United States citizen, if I didn't know this. As he put it to me: "It shows a lack of knowledge of history that would ask a question like that. Or certainly Florida history!" (that was a dig at me for being a Yankee... which for this man may have been my worst sin.)

And then I look at this health care debate. And I look at the swipes people are taking at anyone who might suggest that our current system which is helping to widen the gaps between the haves and the have-nots is just fine, and any attempt to change it is turning the USA into "Russia". Folks, if Russia allows people with so little money that they have to decide between going to the doctor or eating to receive at least a modest level of health care then I ask, "What's wrong with being like Russia?" (FYI: I have no idea what the Russian health care system is really like, but most of the rest of the world DOES provide a social safety net).

If you are really Christian, can you not see how un-Christian it is to let people die simply because they can't afford the care to live? If you really want to "love" your neighbor, do you not see why it is important to give your neighbor the ability to see a doctor rather than end up in an emergency room which is already overrun?

Opposition to discussing the options seems rooted in fear. And, again, I say it is all over the Bible, a book that so many people hold near and dear to the point of idolatry: Do. Not. Be. Afraid. Joseph says it to his brothers. King David says it 2 Samuel. Paul says it multiple places in his letters. And Jesus? Do you really need to ask if he says it?

Do not give into fear. Do not let fear dominate your head and your heart. You can see by what happened in Smyrna where fear leads.


Anonymous said...

Is this also between the North and the South again? I don't understand how people are so frightened of what is being proposed. We already have the Government paying our Healthcare and also yesterday in Portsmouth, NH there were no screaming matches. What is this? I don't understand it.


SCG said...

No, Peggins: I don't think this is a North vs. South thing. There were screaming people in Pennsylvania, too.
This is just evidence of how fear is the pathway to hate.