October 2, 2013

What We Can Learn from the Government Shutdown. ~ Desi Thorp

How is it the Affordable Care Act became the main obstacle to funding the government?

Some Americans believe that everyone should be entitled to health care, and some don’t. While one of the great things about this country is that the majority of us recognize everyone’s right to their own opinion, our elected representatives—acting on behalf of their constituents—passed a bill that decided everyone should have access to affordable health care.

What does this have to do with a government shutdown?

Some Americans who don’t believe in the Affordable Care Act are refusing to fund the government until the Affordable Care Act is repealed.

I am not going to talk about the politics of it, or whether it is the Democrats’ or the Republicans’ fault. There is enough negative energy out there as it is. Isn’t there some positive energy that can be applied to this situation? What about a constructive approach?

It is hard to realize that this situation is not solely the result of an isolated group of people. Once we realize that, it  is harder still to take action to change ourselves, our government, and our world. The shutdown, I would argue, is the result of everything that we all have been doing for the past number of years.

I am not going to tell anyone what they should do or think, but I am going to pose some questions to consider while we all come to our own conclusions.

I think one thing to learn from the government shutdown is that we may not be taking full responsibility for our actions.

We may not see the impact our actions may have on others: a potential reason for this could be our tendency to not act on our individual responsibility. What we need to realize is that our health care system is shaped by what each of us does individually. If access is unequal and unfair, then treatment is unequal and unfair, and that affects the health of our entire population. The only way to change this is to be aware of our own behavior, in the hopes that we will set a good example for others.

The shutdown can therefore be an opportunity for reflection and self-examination. Major events or impasses can serve as a wake-up call for those involved—something is going on that needs to be addressed on a more fundamental level. How did we get here?

The answer to that question is complex, but it includes our culture, our history, and our beliefs about human rights and today’s social institutions.

There may or may not be any “right” way for Americans to act on their beliefs to try and manifest a particular outcome, but if we spoke to our friends and family to open a dialogue about health care,  then perhaps change could occur.

Personally, I actually don’t know what most of my friends and family think about this and I believe that is another major cause for why we find ourselves here today. We don’t communicate with each other about the issues that matter, like access to health care.

I challenge us all to examine what we truly believe, to see if we are willing to let others believe something else, and discover what we may do to create the world we want to live in.


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Assistant Ed. Bronwyn Petry/Ed: Bryonie Wise

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Desi Thorp