This past weekend, my husband and I watched most of the Democratic Debate. There are a lot of candidates, and I have to say that I had not done my homework on who they were or where they stood on most issues. I have come to think differently about politics in the last couple of years, and it started with an understanding that I got in reading the book Are you Liberal, Conservative or Confused? I was confused. Primarily I have gained perspective that Conservatives typically want more government to regulate issues of morality and less governmental controls on our spending – while Liberals are often the opposite. I realize this is a very simplistic perspective but it helped me understand a lot. There are so many issues that it would be very difficult to align myself at the moment with a particular political party or candidate just yet.
Another thing that has changed in me is my perspective on the church’s role in politics. Donald Miller helped hammer it out in Blue Like Jazz that all to often as Christians we think that we have to be conservatives – because moral issues are far more important than money to a believer. Personally, I have come to realize that you cannot legislate morality. I am not saying that the answer is to sit back with our hands in our pockets and do nothing to stand against evil, but making laws is doing little to affect the hearts of people to make a real change. What more often than not seems to happen is Christians are setting themselves up against a hurting world – pointing the finger of condemnation instead embracing them with the love of Christ, in their sin, and saying at the same time, as our Lord would say, “Go and sin no more.” No, we will not say that wrong is right and right is wrong. God’s standard still stands, but I believe with all my heart that love is the only vehicle to get people there.
Since the debate a couple of days ago, I have come to realize an issue that is of particular importance to me is National Healthcare. My thoughts on the issue are just starting to gel, however, I have a personal story to share – I’ll make it brief.
My son was born in September of 1997. When he was a couple of weeks old, I was returning home from a visit with a friend. As I was putting my key into my front door, I looked down at my newborn baby in his carseat to find that his lips and face were turning blue. I practically slammed the carseat on the ground there on the front porch, and jerked the belt off to get the baby out, and in all the violent jostling, he took a big gasp for air and started to cry. I was crying with him, holding him in my arms and terrified.
When I was pregnant with him, I had consulted with my pediatrician about this baby. His older sister had been on an apnea monitor until she was a year old because she too had stopped breathing at a 2 week pediatrician’s visit when the nurse was drawing her blood, and a subsequent sleep study showed that she was only breathing normally about 40% of the time. In spite of this, the pediatrician assured me that it would not necessarily be the case with her siblings.
I took my son immediately to the pediatrician’s office after the incident on the front porch. The doctor held him in her arms, and looked him over. She listened to his chest, and his stomach, and looked in his ears, nose and throat. After the exam was done, she sat down and very calmly said to me, “Well, he looks fine to me.” I started to cry realizing that she was not remotely concerned about the child that had stopped breathing on me until he turned BLUE that morning, and started to plead with her to do the sleep study that our previous pediatrician had done on my daughter. She looked at me calmly, without a bit of concern and said, “The bottom line is that there is no way your insurance company is going to pay for that study unless you had a child who died of SIDS.” I pleaded with her, telling her that WE would pay for the test, if it took the rest of our lives, and begged her to please not send me home with a baby I knew there was something wrong with. She suggested that I was suffering with post-partum depression, and had a counselor from my OB/GYN’s office contact me later that day!
Long story short, I found another doctor. I went home, got out the phone book and determined with one eye on the phone book and one eye on my son to call until I through to someone who was willing to take care of my baby. We got an immediate appointment with another doctor, who sent me directly from his office to the hospital. My son was admitted and within 36 hours we knew that his sleep study showed he was only breathing normally about 20% of the time – far more irregularly than his sister.
What bothers me the most is that there are poor people who with poor diets and the struggle to survive need healthcare, and they are the least likely to get what they need. The doctor in my story knew it would indeed take us the rest of our lives to pay for that sleep study ourselves, and she made money more important than a human life. That is why National Healthcare will be such a major issue for me in the coming election. Wealthy people shouldn’t be the only ones able to afford medical treatment. We treat something that is a necessity as if it is a luxury.
I won’t post a lot about the coming elections, but I will be chiming in from time to time with my thoughts. I’m not sure I’ll ever be endorsing a candidate. I would, however, like this to become a discussion. What issues are most important to you in the upcoming election? Which candidate are you favoring and why? I would even like to hear from some of my international friends about what you think Americans are doing wrong.
As my friend Leslie would say, these are my thoughts.