The ill Advised
This article is not about health care reform. Nor is it about the recent decision by the Supreme Court of the United States to uphold the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. This is about how We, the People have lost our ability to form rational perspectives, or articulate opposition without venomous polarization. Political partisanship has turned our nation into a bunch of raving, rabid psychotics who feign acumen by regurgitating cable news talking points.
Our current state of health care in the America, may, or may not be a disgrace… but our discourse surely is.
Which is not to say that people shouldn’t have opinions about the topic at hand. Surely, accessibility to affordable health care is an issue germane to all of our lives –if not our fundamental liberties as Americans– and if one’s honest introspection leads them to believe that the present state of reform will either help, or hinder their ability to pursue happiness… then I would never dream of trying to deny anyone’s first amendment right of dissent. But all one has to do is hop onto Facebook, scroll through their online news feed, or turn on their television to see that is not what is happening. You can find more rational discord in a prison riot.
Depending on one’s predisposed political affiliation –which in the present social climate means that you either believe President Obama to be a Kenyan Muslim antichrist sent by Satan to destroy America, or our last/best hope for world peace and ice cream for everyone– their reactions to the SCOTUS decision were laughably predictable. Democrats and Republicans everywhere have been claiming a victory for, or a death blow to “freedom“. Party-line automatons have determined that this decision will either mean Armageddon, or Shangri-la. It makes no difference how uninformed many of us are… we know what sides to take, and whose angst addled platitudes to mimic.
The truth is, most people don’t even know what they are angry about, or elated over. Facts are altered to coincide with narrow-minded inclinations, and context compromised in accordance with predisposed determinations. Like it is with most of the way America forms their socio/political determinations, conclusions are drawn before knowledge is received. The arguments over health care reform themselves are generally inane, and are much less about finding the best, most economical way to treat sick people than it is about politics. Most of the integrity deficient populace knows what team they are rooting for, and they over dramatize accordingly.
For instance, the continued, ad nauseum use of the word “betrayal” regarding Chief Justice John Roberts vote to support Obamacare’s constitutionality is particularly disturbing when one considers that the Supreme Court is not designed to make its decisions according to party affiliation. First and foremost, the Supreme Court of the United States is charged with interpreting the Constitution and making rulings thusly. And while it would be naive to not acknowledge that SCOTUS justices are chosen because of their liberal or conservative leanings depending on whatever party the nominating President belongs to… it does not guarantee how they will vote on every bit of legislation. Neither Democrats, nor Republicans own the judges they nominate for SCOTUS.
Certainly, one might disagree with Justice Roberts decision, but to imply that his interpretation was a betrayal has ramifications beyond dissent. What everyone who makes that claim is saying, is that they believe the Supreme Court of the United States of America to be ethically compromised to the point of treason. They are claiming that there was an outside force coercing Justice Roberts to make a decision that he otherwise would not, and that he abandoned his oath in collusion with forces unknown.
Hmmm…. Perhaps. Maybe the alarmists are onto something there. But here’s the thing, are we to engage in this type of hyperbolic vitriol every time a SCOTUS decision doesn’t go our way? To put this in perspective, those reacting with incredulous anxiety for the most part did not do so when the Supreme Court made their decisions regarding Citizen’s United, or the Patriot Act. Outrage, it would seem, is subject to circumstance.
In reality, nothing changed from the day before this decision to now. The only post-Scotus ruling divergence is that in order to change this law, legislators will now have the burden of convincing voters of a better way to provide affordable health care. I don’t think that anyone, from either side of the political aisle will disagree that there is still work to be done. There are surely improvements which can be made, some through the elimination of parts of this legislation. There are ethical, economic and bureaucratic issues which can be rationally discussed without implementing liberal and conservative code words for “Us vs. Them”
But that will never happen as long as we allow our opinions to be provided for us by those who appeal to our predisposed biases, rather than do the heavy lifting ourselves.