Month: March 2010

Civility in the United States

We are in a time like no other.

Each of us has access to more information than ever before.

Each of us has the ability to spread information (via the internet) more than ever before.

And those with the loudest voices are usually the ones who are heard.

Unfortunately, a loud voice means nothing regarding truth.

And everyone has a point of view.

The line between truth and opinion is becoming blurry in the political world.

And the line between disagreement, debate, respect, & civility; has become blurred with disagreement, threats, and violence.

Come on people…..

Stop the violence, stop the hatred, stop the bitterness, and

Start listening, start reading, start talking, start debating.

I wonder how many of you are in your own little cocoon world of like thinkers and never listen to the other side, the other viewpoints?

20 years ago, I lived in a little bubble world of Christianity in Detroit of all places.

I worked for a Christian radio station, most of the music I listened to was from Christian artists and most of my friends were Christians.

There were some bitter disagreements within the radio station employees about Christian beliefs at times. But for the most part, we got along.

Today, my world has expanded greatly. I am still a Christian, I am still firm in my beliefs, and I am richer because I also know and understand others beliefs and convictions regarding God, Politics, and many other subjects.

This expansion was not done by someone yelling at me, or screaming that I was wrong, or threats or any of that type of behavior.

I urge you to calm down.
Shut off the hype coming from the left extremists.
Shut off the hype coming from the right extremists.
Set a new agenda of finding common ground and build on that.
Ignore the areas of disagreement for awhile.
Build relationships with “the enemy” based on these common ground issues.
Listen with an open heart and mind.

Restore Civility to our civilization we call the United States of America.

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Is Health Care Reform Healthy for you & me?

This afternoon, I watched some of the TV coverage of the Health Care Showdown. As I write this, the pro-life democrats led by Michigan congressman Bart Stupack announced a deal was cut with President Obama. The Democrats will vote yes on the bill because the White House will issue an Executive Order preventing federal funds to be used for abortions.

There are still a few hours to go before the vote is taken in the House, but it looks like a done deal.

Those that are for Health Care Reform, are overjoyed.
Those that are against it, are distraught.

But no matter where you stand, I predict that you will disappointed over the next 5 years.

About 15 years ago, I have lived without health insurance because I took a job that for 3 years did not offer coverage. I also had 3 kids and a wife (who became my ex-wife during this time) who also worked for the same company and was in the same boat.

Before that, I also lived with being under insured for 8 years and that nearly ruined us financially.

Currently our coverage is okay, but the premiums are out of control. Our group plan costs me over $700 a month out of my pay, plus a few hundred that my employer pays.

I saw the movie Sicko by Michael Moore and have seen a few of his other films too. Last week I heard a radio interview with him about this Health Care debate. I agree with much of what he has to say.

I am not a liberal. I lean more conservative. I am pretty much a Libertarian. But none of us are pure when it comes to politics. But if I were strictly Libertarian, I would be against many, if not most of the federal programs that have been around longer than I have.

But we have federal programs that all of us use ranging from the post office, highways, and more. Some of these need to adapt to the times, such as the post office which has become less important in this age of electronic communication. So why not adapt our thinking when it comes to how we deliver and pay for health care?

My problem, like many others is that we don’t trust Congress. The conservative fringe want things to stay the same. The liberal fringe want to spread the wealth. And each of us are trying to figure out what will happen next.

Everyone I’ve spoken with is for some reform. The disagreements come in how to take these ideas and make it into law.

Points of agreement include: stopping denial of benefits, mandatory coverage of pre-existing conditions, and more competitiveness by health insurance companies by allowing people to shop for coverage across state lines to reduce premium costs.

I feel that the bill does not go far enough. Personally I prefer a single payer plan that is paid by our taxes and gives everyone the right to health care without concern of personal affordability. That’s the way our highway system works, why not our health care system?

Instead we are getting a patchwork of health care reform that builds on current, flawed systems and will leak and bleed both blood and money.

The single payer plan is too radical for those who want to see less government involvement in our lives. And I understand that point of view, even though I disagree.

Our system of taxation is also unfair. A national sales tax that would replace ALL other personal taxes and replace the I.R.S. would be a nice place to start.

What is interesting and disturbing is that most of the benefits of the health care reform will not be put into place for 4 years, yet we will start paying for it now. I wonder how many people who are for passage of the current bill are aware of this and the other provisions that will hurt them financially?