When I was a teenager, my mother broke her own rule of never buying someone else’s trouble and purchased a used car. We were quite excited because it was beautiful and sleek, and it was a convertible.
The salesman said the car was practically new and was the deal of the century. Before long, it was discovered that the engine was completely shot, and the car was essentially a beautiful piece of junk. The salesman did not know my mother, and in the end, gladly refunded her money and took the car back.
This kind of story is, of course, the reason that used-car salesmen have such a bad reputation. Just behind used-cars salesmen are politicians, who have also been known to sell people a bill of goods with no substance. Obamacare is such a bill of goods, one that was promoted as one thing and turned out to be something quite different. In the real world, it is frequently possible to gain legal relief in the case of a fraudulent deal, but in the case of Obamacare, we are being told that it is the law of the land and that you simply must live with it.
When you place misdeeds by the government beyond the reach of normal mechanisms of recourse, you establish a condition ripe for abuse. If a bill is passed under false pretenses, shouldn’t we question its legitimacy and. at the very least, reintroduce the bill after disclosing the aspects that were hidden previously? If the bill still passes after such disclosure, it would then become legitimate. We must remember that we are talking about one-sixth of the U.S. economy. We should not be playing fast and loose with the laws and details surrounding the most important possession we have: our health. I think this would be a fair-minded solution to anyone who does not have ulterior motives in health care reform.
It is important that we learn to be compassionate even toward those with whom we disagree. How compassionate is it in a free society that is supposed to be for, of and by the people to say, “Too bad sucker. This is now the law of the land” — no matter how it was passed? The reason that solutions such as amendments and repeals were established was to remedy unforeseen problems associated with various legislative endeavors. The last thing we need are political victories that impose complex legislative rules on others. Rather, we should be looking for solutions that work for all the people, are fair and not based on deceit and ideology. The patriots who founded America were trying to escape from rulers who were certain that only they knew what was good for everyone else.
There have been numerous suggestions regarding affordable health care reform that were made by people and groups outside the current administration, which deserve discussion. If we truly wish to give everyone who is an American citizen affordable health care, let’s analyze some of these other suggestions and select the best components of each one and work together to create a better choice. We can leave intact the various insurance plans that currently exist with the goal of creating something so much better that people will voluntarily choose it, rather than being forced into it.
As a nation, we need to decide how important honesty is. If dishonesty is employed to achieve a goal, do we just say, “OK, you put one over on us,” or do we address the solution legislatively, as we would in a civil case? What we have done with Obamacare is similar to boarding an airplane and then finding out that there are some severe mechanical problems about which we were not previously informed. We are then told that we cannot get off the plane once we’ve boarded and, therefore, everyone needs to help fix the problem and stop complaining. Obviously, we cannot stand for such outrageous behavior.
Fortunately, there are signs that the media are beginning to awaken and assume their duty of objective reporting. We must all realize that if we accept corruption as a means to an end, we will soon be like well-known radical elements in the world who feel that lying, cheating and even killing by beheading is OK and will even be rewarded in heaven, as long as these acts are perpetrated against the enemy.
We are better than this. We must reject the notion that slick political maneuvering and dishonesty are inevitable in government and must be tolerated. We no more need to tolerate such things than we need to tolerate tyranny. The choice is ours. Let us call upon our leaders and representatives to change the culture to one of trust and decency consistent with our Judeo-Christian values. If they refuse, we the people must remove them from office, which is our duty to ourselves and to our progeny.
Ben S. Carson is professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University.