This last week in politics saw three days (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday) of high profile arguments in the United States Supreme Court regarding the Affordable Care Act of 2010. These arguments along with the court’s decision would determine the constitutionality of the law and if the federal government had the authority to do the things it set out to do in the law. The main sticking point of this law for many opponents is the federal mandate that all US citizens purchase Health insurance or be penalized. Originally I was not paying much attention to the proceedings in Washington D.C. I assumed it was going to be a rather boring discussion between lawyers and justices (which turned out to be true). But I was utterly surprised when it came to the protests going on outside the courthouse from both sides of the issue. Thursday’s issue of The Daily Show with John Stewart put this together perfectly. It showed members from both camps talking about the issue and why they supported or opposed the law. This is where it got complicated.
John Stewart showed news interviews that had been taken throughout the three days. When supporters were interviewed they said they supported the law because they felt that all people should have access to affordable health care and should not be denied because they get sick or were sick already. But when the interviews got to those who opposed the law it seemed as if the protestors had gotten their on the wrong date. Not in one of the clips was health care or medicine mentioned by the protestors. One woman talked about trampling on the constitution and the abolishing of civil rights while another actually stated “I will not comply with the law, because I believe in freedom.” How can a country have a debate on an issue (that seemingly should be rather straightforward) if the two sides cannot even agree what they are debating about?
Watching this stark contrast actually play out made me think of a startling trend that has been going on for the past few years; an issue which should be simple to solve is blown out of proportion and made into an argument that is unrelated. Passing a budget, a simple numbers matter of income balanced with expenses, was made into an argument about the destruction of the American way of life and similar grandiose phrases. Is it really that difficult to stick to the matters at hand? If someone has a problem with the law they should be able to articulate it in a better way than “I believe in freedom.” For instance, I do not agree with certain aspects of the law and as an example will put my argument into a practical way for political debate.
I do not agree with the individual mandate that is incorporated into this law. I have no problem with it other than this one point because I believe that the federal government does not have the right to force someone to purchase a commodity if they do not want to. Everyone should have equal access at a reasonable cost but it should be their choice to buy an insurance plan. People should want to buy health insurance in the first place and do not need the government punishing them if they do not. If someone does not and they get sick, that is their own fault, but they should have the right to frankly be stupid and ill prepared if they wish. Now, I would be overjoyed if one of my fellow bloggers would read this post and decide to respond to it with their own opinion. That is how political discourse should be; where people state their differences clearly so that there is a clear line of sight from problem to solution.