Seniors: Demonstrating Caring and Convictions Around Health Care

Sep 30th, 2009 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

There are glaring inconsistencies in the national debate over health care reform and certain values many senior citizens hold dear. 

Many Internet savvy seniors seem to  gain satisfaction in passing around emails about the efficacies of  America as a  ’Christian’ nation,’ keeping “In God We Trust” on pennies, permitting prayer in public schools and allowing a replica of the Ten Commandments to be placed in courthouses  or other public buildings. These issues evoke strong feelings about belief systems and faith. Demonstrating commitment to these ideas allows others to be aware of some of our choices in patriotism and faith, while absorbing energy that might well be used elsewhere.   

Cultural, patriotic and religious principles seem to come to odds, however around issues which involve being our ‘brother’s keeper” and exercising faithful passion for taking care of widows and children.  Is God on pennies  more faithful than  spending  resources  on health care for those who cannot afford it themselves? 

Some hold  that, “taking  care of myself and my family should mean that everyone else would do well to  do the same. ’  Some perceive society as “free of  victims, except those who don’t want to work and expect others to take care of them. ” Some, such as the Kennedy family, respond by saying, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” 

The Christian view has traditionally acknowledged and propagated the  principle,” Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. ” It seems that the real question facing us now, as we continue to work toward real health care reform, is “How would I want others treating me if I needed medical care and were penniless, or in need of  an organ transplant, or my child were diagnosed with leukemia and I was a single working parent with no health care insurance, or if my aging parent(s)developed Alzheimer’s and he/she had no long-term insurance coverage?”  How would I want to be treated if I had limited to no resources to care for myself?’

Calling on certain faith principles, while ignoring others when being  pressed to be compassionate or giving or sharing is selective  behavior. Religious icons  and other heroes who have  been over the top when it comes to compassion and inclusion, remind us that our religious principles are mighty motivators for  sustaining a society that works. Arguing for  symbols, such as pennies and prayer in public school, pale in comparison to the needs of real human beings when it comes to situations like health care. 

Religious mandates, characterized in and by most faith systems, look to the care and keeping of one another.  What keeps systems working is abiding by principles that hold up values.  Two American presidents, Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, stretched the Constitution in order to accomplish ends they felt important to America.  Others have flirted with means to look to the best interest of the nation and improving the state of the nation in their time.  Ordinary Americans need to join in learning the lessons of history that do not depend on fallacy, myth and supposition, but upon behaviors that have driven us to be the ideal President Eisenhower proclaimed about us: “America is great, because she is good.  And when she ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”

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