“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” — President John F. Kennedy, inaugural address, 1961
I have been thinking a lot about Kennedy’s admonition as Americans are waking up and smelling the ObamaCare coffee. I am wondering why are Americans so shocked.
Americans had been warned by health insurance experts. They told us such promises were impossible to achieve. The experts told us that you could not socialize medicine and extend the same level of health care for all. The resources do not exist. If nothing else, there are not enough doctors.
But you didn’t have to be a healthcare expert to know this. Even common sense would dictate that expanding healthcare coverage for more people would cost everyone more. Of course employers would rather pay a fine that is cheaper than paying ever-rising health insurance premiums. You like to save money too, don’t you?
ObamaCare would have never gotten off the ground in Kennedy’s day. Americans were still too much against anything that smacked of socialism.
But we are a different America now. Kennedy’s 1961 audience was made up mostly of those who had lived through the depression and at least one world war. If they were young enough to have no memory of such trying events, they had parents who did — and they talked about it. Such collective experience has been buried in our nation’s cemeteries.
We have forgotten that those who lived through those events sacrificed more than most of us have. My Grandmother Webbe, who was born 104 years ago, was coming of age during the depression. It left an indelible mark on her and her peers. They never took prosperity for granted. They saved everything because they never knew when a time of need would happen again.
Even common sense would dictate that expanding healthcare coverage
for more people would cost everyone more.
Kennedy’s statement was offered to a people who understood that individual rights meant individual responsibilities. These were a people who believed in the Judeo-Christian God to whom they were accountable. They did not see jobs as a right but a privilege they worked hard to achieve and maintain. They did not rely on government but the strength of family and community. Some people fell through the cracks, so government got involved. Some will fall through the ObamaCare cracks as well.
But the audience is different now. Our rights do not stem from a creator to whom we owe an account of our lives. That presumed creator in the Declaration of Independence’s who endowed us with rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has been substituted by the government. The freedom of assembly, religion and expression now extends to the right to personal offense and lawsuits that censor Americans from speaking truth.
And we don’t ask ourselves what we can do for our country. We expect more from others than we do ourselves.
As a result, the question of what we can do for our country has been answered for us. Doing for our country means paying higher taxes and accepting a lower standard of living. These are taxes necessary to finance our high expectations from governmental programs promised by politicians to get elected.
And this is our fault. Rising health care costs is a direct result of Americans having greater expectations to live unhealthy lives without having to pay much of the health care tab.
Kennedy’s statement was offered to a people
who understood that individual rights meant individual responsibilities.
ObamaCare is also the result of a civil war taking place in this country, but of a different kind.
It is not one being fought with guns, but something less obvious and perhaps more sinister: propaganda. We are surprised by the effects of ObamaCare because we wanted to believe the promises it made to us.
Recently I gained new perspective on the War Between the States by reading the southern states’ perspective. It turns out my great, great grandfather, Henry H. Gill, fought in the civil war for the Confederacy. I felt I owed it to Henry H. Gill of the 1st Northern Virginia Infantry to see the war through his eyes.
Growing up in Cleveland, I already knew the north’s perspective. Of proud Yankee blood, I felt great that my ancestors were on the right side of history. Another ancestral line is made up of Quakers who left Virginia in 1799 to live in the slave-free Northwest Territory.
When it came to slavery, the north was right. But when it came to state’s rights, the Confederacy was right.
From their perspective, their own country went to war against them. Many Americans who are being forced into ObamaCare feel their government is imposing on them. ObamaCare won political support even though about half of Americans were against it. We are a country divided about health care.
The confederacy fought back. Most soldiers were not fighting to maintain slavery. Frankly, most of them could not afford slaves anyway.
The confederate states wanted liberty from the federal government forcing its agenda on them. This is no different than the genesis of the Declaration of Independence, which came about because Mother England was doing the same. My ancestors fought in the Revolutionary war as well.
But we are a different people now. Our expectations are different. We ask what our country to do for us instead of the other way around. Such expectancy paved the way for ObamaCare. This is our own dang fault.
This is no longer the country for which my ancestors fought. I don’t think they would have felt comfortable here anyway.
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