The debate about health care in my experience thus far has had lots of teachable moments a kin to the President’s Beer Summit. I’ve learned a lot:

  • It’s easy to let opinions get drowned out by name calling and insults,
  • Some argue that there is much more at stake than just health care (an unfortunately major part of this debate is over socialism and America’s move towards it if this bill is passed and whether the founding fathers intended it to be this way or how they would have handled it),
  • When you’re prepared with research and facts it makes you a better arguer,
  • Many people aren’t prepared with research and/or facts,
  • Most of all, polls show that America does think that something is wrong with the healthcare system and that the vast majority of us feel that affordable health care for everyone is a good thing – we differ just on the method by which that should come about.

So what do we do with this knowledge.

  • Cut out the name calling – my wife had a saying for a long time: “Sarcasm kills communication.”  It’s true.  We can add that name calling, insults and badly placed fusions of entertainment and enlightenment to the exact same thing.  Approach the debate with a clear head.  To be frank, I have had to remind myself that people on the right aren’t bad – sorry, just being honest.
  • Realize that some people do think there is more at stake than health care. Do I think that America is becoming a socialist nation?  Not on your life.  Why?  America is the “wealthiest” nation in the world for a reason.  No one is brain dead enough to really mess with that formula.  Is the move to a public option a move towards socialism? I don’t believe so for a minute, but I can see how it could be spun that way.  It’s much like calling saying humans are moving towards becoming martians because we’ve been to space a time or two.  The expanse that the nation would have to travel to get from where we are to what socialism actually is is simply too great.
  • Be prepared.  Read.  Consume the information and deal with what it actually says….. don’t let you enlightenment be fuzed with entertainment.  Too much at stake  (the bill: PDF – it’s really not that bad, Socialism, capitalism, FACTCHECK.org)
  • You know what….we’re not enemies here.  Please remember that.  Even though I think this health care bill could do more good for this country than bad, and even though you may think the opposite way, we are still not enemies.  We are as much not enemies as this country is not becoming socialist.  Enemies are the people that wish you harm.  We want the same things – we just need to agree quickly on how to make that happen.

So, that’s what I’ve learned so far.  I know I have a lot more learning to do.