Civility Needed As Well As Civil Liberties

by Curt Kovener Curt line

We have degenerated into a society that is “all about me and instant gratification”. If we don’t get our way or see that someone else may get something that we view is at our expense, we rail, we complain, we bitch and moan, and revert to the thing that got our mouths washed with soap in our youth: name calling. Sometimes using incendiary words and justify it under our First Amendment Right of free speech.

What this country needs is a Grandpa to take the mouthy disrespectfuls to the woodshed to show the error of our thinking. And as we leave the old fashioned disciplinary dispensation still stinging would be given a final admonishment, “Do that again & I’ll really give you something to cry about.”

But the disrespectful trash and burn gatherings that we have unfortunately called town hall meetings are nothing new. The name calling that spews forth isn’t unique to health care.

I recall back a few decades when the Equal Rights Amendment was being debated—a simple amendment which aimed to give women equality in all situations—some of the loudest opponents of giving women the same rights as men were…women. They said women ought to have the right to remain in the home if they so choose. And indeed they should but they also should be allowed the same education if they chose, allowed to enter their chosen profession, allowed to compete on a level playing field in the workplace.

I recall being warned by the alarmist opponents that if the ERA was passed there would no longer be men’s and women’s public restrooms. We would all use the same unisex restroom. That didn’t happen.

Now I hear charges of “death panels” if national health care reform passes. What the reform bill includes, and I believe I have read more of the 1,000+pages of the bill (not just the e-mailed synopsis that a contrarian sent out as “truth”) than most of the “town hall bullies” have, is an option for counseling for end of life decisions.

I can tell you from growing up in the funeral industry and observations within family & friends, we do need end of life counseling to discuss those things many people prefer to leave to loved ones before and after they leave this world. It is the responsible thing to do to let doctors and loved one’s know your wishes when that final time arrives.

Medical science and many churches want to keep us alive as long as possible regardless of the quality one the life. When you think about it, if we treated our pets the way conventional medicine and our religion treats our elderly and ill, we would be called inhumane.

And I am not sure why the health care reform is getting the tag of promoting “death panels” when we already have them. They are called health insurance companies & HMOs. If you stay healthy, your insurance or HMO is quite happy to take your premium. But if you get sick, as in “this could kill you sick”, those same happy insurers can stone wall, delay, procrastinate and refuse new and innovative treatments because they are…well, too new and unproven (but most importantly to the insurer: expensive). You can be turned down for approval for payment for procedures and treatments that could save your life.

That, folks, is a death panel. And nobody is loudly protesting.

We would prefer to take something new and different that could positively affect those who are without health coverage and attach a red flag name to it. The current “fire ‘em up” phrase du jour is “Socialist”. Back in the 50’s & 60’s “Communist” caught everyone’s attention and in the earlier part of this decade anyone trying to raise a point different from others was labeled as supporting terrorists.

It seems that any government control anymore is labeled socialist. So why are we not up in arms about our children attending those socialist public schools funded and overseen by government? Why do we not protest as Gestopo-like our government funded socialist police departments? We seem to be pretty flag waving happy about a government paid socialist military protecting us from harm, fighting in wars on terror, and coming to our aid when Mother Nature pitches a tizzy fit on us. Why do we so willingly drive on socialist roads and highways built and maintained by government? Why do we see photos of gray hair people already on the socialized medicine program Medicare loudly protesting health care for all as socialist?

Since we like pigeon-holing and calling names, here is one that seems appropriate: Self-Centered Crackpot.

Grandpa ought to be waiting for them in the woodshed.