Friday, May 4, 2012

This is Why I am a Liberal

Yesterday someone that I internet-know posted with great excitement.  A few months ago she wrote President Obama, and she received a letter back.  She was over the moon at the time.  And then she read the  interview with the President in Rolling Stone magazine, and was thrilled to pieces all over again.  Apparently, the President remembered her letter all these months later:

It must help to get a break, though, given how stressful and demanding the job is. 
You generally don't hear in the press about what goes right, but you do hear it from the people who were impacted by it. I tell you, not a day passes where somewhere, somehow, I don't hear about something we've done that's really touched somebody directly. Somebody writes and says, "I'm 25 years old, and because of health care reform, I was able to stay on my parents' plan and ended up getting a checkup, and it turned out that I had a tumor and it was caught early, and I just want you to know that treatment is going well, and I really think this health care bill saved my life."

Read more:
 Politics can seem pretty damn ephemeral sometimes.  It's about ideas, philosophies, morals and ideals.  But the outcome of all that arguing is actual policy that affects actual human beings.  Human beings like my internet friend, who might be dying by degrees right now instead of cancer free.  It's easy to say, "no way.  It's too expensive.  Not my money," when it's all just numbers on a page.  But what do you say when it's your family, your child or your nephew or your niece who was saved by the provision of the Health Care Reform Act that allowed them to stay on their parents' insurance to age 26?  Was it still too expensive then?  Was it too much to pay when it was the cashier who rings up your groceries every Tuesday night?  Or the guy who does such a good job with your lawn every week?  The lady who teaches your child's preschool class.  The courier driver who delivers your important business documents.  All people who are unlikely to have employer sponsored medical insurance.  All people who could potentially be under 26 and eligible to remain on their parents' insurance.  Are you willing to look any of those people in the face and tell them that they don't deserve insurance coverage?

I'm not.  I happen to believe that everyone deserves affordable medical coverage.  Remember that old saw "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"?  Well, this is our ounce of prevention.  We make sure everyone has medical coverage.  People stay healthy.  They stay productive.  You catch problems early, like my internet friend, and they get taken care of before there's a major, life altering problem.  No one goes bankrupt trying to save their own lives, or the lives of family members.  People get timely treatment, and disease outbreaks are stopped sooner.  Other people having access to decent medical care is a benefit to us all.  It's not a luxury item.  It's a necessity.

I want policies that save lives, not endanger them.  I want policies that ensure freedoms, not strip them away.  I want policies that guarantee equality for all.  After all, the Declaration of Independence says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."  To deny equal treatment under the law is to betray the Declaration of Independence, one of the documents that we as Americans hold dear.

Policies that save lives, ensure freedom, and guarantee equality.  Once again, we're talking ideals.  On a personal level, these are policies that allow everyone access to affordable health care.  They allow us to choose, with the help of our doctors, the medical options that are best for us, without interference.  They allow loving couples to marry and adopt children, without regard to sexual orientation.  They ensure that a woman, hired for the same position and doing the same work as a man, receives the same pay.

Policies affect people.  If they're not affecting people in a positive way, they don't need to be our policies any more.  "Government of the people, by the people, for the people."  Not what benefits corporations or religions, but what benefits We the People.

That's why I'm a liberal.  Because I'm sick of watching our politicians create laws that harm the general public, and refuse to pass laws that would help us.  My name is Joan Q. Public, and I would like my government back now, please.