By Virginia Marsh
As we engage in national discourse about the proposed government health care system, I hear two common threads that, frankly, frighten me. Amazingly, I’m hearing these two things from conservatives, from moderates, from Catholics, from other Christians…not just from the left…and it is that the defenders of our nation have bought into these ideas that I find so troublesome.
The first is the idea that the government health care system is a foregone conclusion, inevitable, and that we are merely fighting to remove certain points. It is not inevitable. We can, and must, fight it. We are, after all, “the people” --- the continuing founders of this nation, which is unique among nations. We are “The Government.” I’ll return to this point in a minute.
The second is the belief that if we succeed in removing certain points from the bill, it will be a victory. It will not. We will win a battle, but we will lose the war.
To illustrate, let’s examine the development of public education. Education was available only on a private basis at one time in our history. There was no “public” education. (St.) Elizabeth Ann Seton wanted to provide education for anyone who wanted to learn, and opened her home to that end. Thus, Catholic schools were born. The idea was to provide education to anyone, not just to those of privilege. “The Government” thought that was a great idea, and, under the banner of “it’s only fair to provide education to everyone,” the public school system was created. Once created, it soon became more than simply availability of education; it was now mandatory that all children should be in school. Private schools (viewed as competition for public schools) have long faced pressure to provide “standardized” curricula, meaning to teach the same things that the public schools teach, which means that we’ve moved from availability to mandatory attendance to mandatory content. And what is that content? First, it was vaccinations and health education. Then sex education. Then, removing God from campuses. Bringing “health care” (contraception) on campus, then moving from contraception to abortion availability and support. Finally, we’re now seeing same-sex lifestyle education and attacks on traditional marriage. Seeing a pattern?
Those who are hoping simply to remove a certain concept (abortion issues, for example) from the proposed government health care system are missing the point in a huge way. You might succeed, but for how long? The fight over certain clauses in the proposal is a tempest in a teapot, because those clauses will certainly be put back in once the government has taken control over health care.
Instead, we need to be fighting the entire concept of government provided health care at all. We must win the war, not merely a battle. Good, well-meaning people can be persuaded by the “it’s not fair that everyone doesn’t have healthcare” camp. That’s a persuasive banner. “It’s not fair.” Fine. But is the inevitable conclusion “fair?” I believe it’s the ultimate injustice – the stripping of personal freedoms, constitutional rights.
We can work to provide solutions for those who don’t have insurance – or any of the other social woes that “The Government” seeks to alleviate - but we don’t have to buy into the underlying concept of the inevitability of this health care proposal to accomplish it. Social concerns have long been more efficiently and more morally addressed by private organizations than by government programs. We just need to roll up our sleeves and get to work.
This brings me back to my first point: “We the People.” Many of us had to memorize the opening lines of the U.S. Constitution – for good reason. They are poetic words that pronounce a bold premise: “The Government” is not external to the people. It is not “Them” – it is “Us.” This does not mean that we roll over and play dead while civil servants trample our freedoms, our rights, our values. We, as continuing founders of this nation – which is a gift from God – must stand up and fight against any and all who seek to strip us of the liberties purchased with the blood of our forefathers.
Through pressuring our congressional representatives and committed, active civil discourse with our neighbors, we can (and must) rail against the ideas that this health care system is inevitable and that “government” is the solution at the expense of our personal rights and freedoms. That price is too high.
Many generations have pledged their sacred honor to protect a constitutional form of government. Are we really ready to relinquish the liberties it affords? Are we really going to sell out under the guise of health care for all?
Fight to win the war.
Virginia Marsh writes for OneNationUnderGod.org She lives in California and is studying constitutional law.
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