Thursday, August 20, 2009
Late summer roses, tough and beautiful.
I've been following the debate over health care reform kind of at arm's length, because getting in too close to it makes me crazy. It's an angry, buzzy, stinging energy field, like hornets or yellow jackets, that swirls around all those town meetings, TV news station commentaries, newspaper editorials (pro and con). The energy around the debate feels so ominous to me. Feels like it could ignite into something really destructive at any second.
What's at the root of all the craziness? A friend suggests that what we're going through is a national identity crisis, a theory that makes more sense to me than blaming the Republicans, or assuming the problem stems from racism because our president is black (I've heard both theories repeatedly). We Americans think our country is/should be free-market, right? We also think of ourselves as a culture in which we take care of people. I think we believe in taking care of our citizens ... or do we? Maybe we don't anymore.
Facing the truth that we are not well cared for, realizing our free-market health care system is broken, opening our eyes to the truth about the insurance and pharmeceutical industries has shaken our national ego to the core. That idea feels right to me. My friend has been asking those against health care reform, "Just what part of our health care system do you think is worth preserving?" That's an EXCELLENT question, don't you think?
If it was up to me, I would call for a national moratorium on the debate and ask that everyone engage in a bout of deep listening. I would ask people to ask themselves, at the deepest level, what's going on and listen carefully, silently, until some wisdom comes up the surface. I would ask people to find someone they disagree with, and listen carefully to each other.
All too often we are already preparing a response when we hear something we disagree with. Our minds are made up and we're ready to fight for what we believe is right. But what could we accomplish if we stopped, if we listened, really listened? What hurdles could we get over/around/through if we opened our minds to all possibilities? Can you imagine?