Thursday, March 25, 2010

Head Shots and Health Care

Apparently, people in the U.S. are very upset about the passing of the health care bill which would provide a wider range of coverage and protection to many American citizens who are currently not covered under health insurance plans, as well as extending the benefits of those who have it. While this upset doesn’t come as a major surprise to anyone, particularly since this debate has been ranging for hundreds of years now, what is truly surprising is the fact that a modern, democratic and generally educated society should be so opposed to the idea of making health care more accessible to its people. What came down to be signed was a watered down version of a bill which had originally looked a lot closer to Universal health care, such as the one provided in Canada or in Great Britain, and had gone through a long process of reconciliation where many compromises were made. As such, the socialized medicine model which had long been denounced and feared by some, even in the post-Soviet era, is not finally making its way to America, but in its place, a health care bill which is ‘made in America’ and has been through a long, extensive, consultative process with concessions on every side.

Among the things that the bill has proposed are modifications to what is generally referred to as ‘family planning’ and contraception which does not exclude the option of abortion. There is a vehement and violent opposition to this and many other aspects of the bill, but some of the anti-abortion activists have taken to threats and violence against people in Congress. While some have protested the violent, profane and grotesque nature of these threats, others have underlined the fact that threats against those in power is essentially not in the best interest of democracy and not how a democratic society should work. Governments and officials should be held accountable for their decisions, particularly when the population doesn’t agree with those decisions, but it is not permissible to threaten violence against them for the decisions that they finally make. At least, that’s not the way that I understand democracy to be.

On this same day in the news, the NHLPA has agreed in principle to work on a modified head shot rule which would empower the league disciplinarian to hand out supplementary discipline for head hits.

The strange link between these two stories?

It’s strange to think that a dignified debate on access to health care has degenerated into a thug mentality among those who consider themselves to be enlightened members of society who are actively engaged in intelligent political debate for views and values that they hold dear and that these same people are currently threatening to (expletive) knock the (expletive) heads off the stupid (expletives). It’s equally strange to think that vicious and calculated moves of aggression are under consideration of being banned in a sport that is known for its rough and violent nature and that this in turn has turned into a dignified debate by enlightened and intelligent people.

It’s a strange reversal when politically-minded people turn into thugs who threaten people’s lives and thugs turn into compassionate-minded people with respect for rules in the interest of saving lives.

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