Monday, March 22, 2010

Healing


Yesterday in worship the person "on deck" to do the prayers of the people included the United States as an historic vote was about to take place. It was the health care bill proposed by President Obama and the Democrats, although some members of his party did not support it. The bill passed by a narrow margin -- 219 to 212 -- but it now means that over 30 million vulnerable, uninsured Americans will receive health coverage and tens of millions more will no longer live in fear that health coverage will be cancelled because, illogically, they are sick.

It seems symbolically appropriate that this bill was passed on a Sunday for a number of reasons. Jesus was a healer and the States is a country that claims a high allegiance to Christ. And the God of Old and New Testaments is the God of the poor and the vulnerable. Some are comparing this bill to the Civil Rights bill, a historic issue of justice.

I was still disturbed by the powerful and often hysterical resistance. And the unapologetic selfishness expressed as "the American Way." There were professionally printed signs saying This is America! We don't redistribute wealth, We earn it! In other words, what's mine is mine, and to hell with the poor. Surely this is not what it means to be American?

Do you think this was a historic moment? Will this be Obama's legacy, or his undoing? Do you feel our Canadian system is more "Christian" even though we are a less religious nation?

7 comments:

Lynnof60 said...

I am uncomfortable in saying that our country is more Christian. We seem to have a sense of 'fairness' that I AM comfortable with. I was listening to a radio show this a.m. and the political journalist was saying that the Democrats felt it was a 'right' to have health care for all and the Republicans felt it was a 'privilege'... and there in lies (lays?) the problem.

Nancy said...

It was very interesting having been in the US the last few days leading up to this bill. Time will tell if it is historical or not. While in the US we saw protests against it, along with many a t.v. commercial against it. We overheard people talk about in emergency situations having to stop and think, which hospital was the cheaper one to go to, meaning they didn't just go to the nearest hospital, I can't imagine that here! I agree with Lynn, I think in Canada we have a sense of fairness.

IanD said...

I don't think there's any question that this is the most significant piece of American social legislation since the Johnson administration enacted Medicare back in 1965. It's historical importance is clearly without question.

Over the course of his interviews last week, the president returned again and again to how, when you cut past the counter-spin, hysteria and misinformation, the reform of the health care system in America was fundamentally the right thing to do. Despite the demagoguery and obstructionism of his opponents, he continues to slowly fulfill the promise he displayed throught the 2009 campaign. It's quite clear that change HAS come to the United States in the person of this remarkable man.

My only concern with the bill has to do with its weaknesses in curtailing overall costs. Princeton professor and frequent NY Times contributor Paul Krugman was quoted today as saying "we've arrived at the end of a tunnel, only to see the opening to another." Hopefully, Congress can work to strengthen this major weakness of the new legislation.

I'd like to think that Jesus would be pleased with this bill, and what it means for so many. I thought this morning of the widespread relief that must have been felt by so many because of this courageous bill.

Somewhere, Ted Kennedy has a smile on his face ... !

IanD said...

This teacher is ashamed he used "it's" instead of "its!"

I need a better editor!

lionlamb said...

This from reader Bill as an email:

I WAS VERY PLEASED THAT THE HEALTH CARE BILL PASSED AND FOR THE MANY MILLIONS THAT WILL BE ABLE TO NOW FIND COVERAGE.I HAVE FOLLOWED THE DEBATE FAIRLY CLOSE AND I WOULD GET VERY ANGRY WHEN I HEARD SOME OF THE HEATED REMARKS MADE BY MANY REPUBLICANS WHO WERE TRYING TO BLOCK THE PLAN.,IT SEEMED TO MORE ABOUT POLITICS THAN IT DID ABOUT THE CARE OF THE MASSES.THE INSURANCE LOBY WAS JUST AWFUL.I BECAME ANNOYED WHEN THEY WERE SO CRITICAL OF CANADA AND OUR HEALTH SYSTEM. IT MAY NOT BE PERFECT BUT I BELIEVE IT TO BE A STEP UP TO THE AMERICAN SYSTEM

IT SEEMS TO BE LITTLE WONDER THAT THERE SEEMS TO BE SUCH DISTRUST OF THE USA AROUND THE WORLD.IT IS MY HOPE THAT THIS MAY START TO CHANGE WITH OBAMA AT THE HELM..I KNOW IT WILL BE COSTLY BUT IT MAY START TO REVERT SOME OF THE INSURANCE PROFITS BACK TO THE PEOPLE.I THINK IT IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT GREED DOES IN THE FREE ENTERPRIZE SYSTEM AS IT CONTINUES TO DRIVE FOR EVER INCREASING PROFITS.IT WOULD BE MY DOUBT THAT THIS COULD BE WHAT GOD WANTED TO HAPPEN.

I THINK I WILL REMAIN A PROUD CANADIAN

lionlamb said...

Thank you for all these responses. All worthwhile insights. That is an important ethical distinction Lynn -- right and privilege.

I too wonder, Ian, if this is a tunnel leading to another tunnel in the US. It is what some Democrats fear. Doing the right thing can have its consequences.

While we are not as expressly Christian here in Canada I think it's important to remember that Tommy Douglas, the driving force behind our system, was a Baptist minister. It would be great to have a discussion about the source of our sense of fairness. I think Republicans would say that "fair is fair" -- pay for health care and you get health care. We have a sense of fairness rooted in our Judeo-Christian tradition.

Deborah Laforet said...

I think there is an extreme sense of "fairness" in the US, but everyone describes it very differently.

After hearing many people in my own family, living in Michigan, I think there is fear of what universal health care means. Will it mean longer wait times? Will it mean much heavier taxes? Do those who get sick because of illegal activities get treatment before them? I think many Americans have a very strong sense of individual rights and privileges, compared to the common good.

These are not my beliefs. I am very proud to live in a country where there is universal health care. Change is scary though; and my hope is that eventually, most Americans will see the value of universal health care and that Obama will become as well loved as Canada's Tommy Douglas...someday.