Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care: Facts Are Fiction

It’s days like today when we really get to see the full power of the marketing arm of both the Democrat and Republican parties in action. The blogosphere is ablaze with commentary about the passing of Health Care reform and every has the “facts.” No one seems to notice that the facts often contradict each other—or they don’t care. One thing is for sure though, we’ve all been educated to argue our side of the issue.

We are a nation inundated with “talking points.” Go ahead, try to have a reasonable debate with someone about health care today. You won’t get past the opening statements without the person you’re debating rattling off some impressive sounding poll numbers, facts, figures and canned statements that the pundits repeat ad nausea on their respectively biased news stations.

I’ve read blogs that report only 30% of Americans approved of this bill passing. I’ve read some that report that 70% were in favor of it. How can two polls, honestly run, come up with such varied results? The simple answer, of course, is that they can’t. Not if they are run honestly and with integrity.

Throw the poll numbers out. And if you want to win your argument about health care today, simply make people explain the many canned statements they offer you. Even the most passionate people on each side of this issue rarely know the true facts—they know the facts they want to know from the people they want to know them from and that is their idea of truth.

It would be amusing if it weren’t so sad that the people on each side of this issue weren’t such hypocrites. The way this bill was passed is under scrutiny. Those who supported the bill support the method. Those who didn’t—don’t. And when the shoe is on the other feet years from now it’s the conservatives who want to pass something and the liberals who don’t want it done the position on parliamentary procedure will be reversed. Both sides will be hypocrites.

My favorite line ever muttered in a movie was spoken by Sir Alec Guinness in the movie Return of the Jedi in which his character says the most profound thing many of us will ever hear: “…you’ll find that a great many of the truths we cling to depend greatly upon our own point of view.”

Our own point of view? What shapes us? How do we look at the issue? Who do we listen to talk about it? Have we always had health insurance? Have we gone without? Do we have a pre-existing condition? Do we know someone who lost their home and savings trying to pay for care for their child who suffered from a disease that couldn’t have been helped? Are we wealthy? Are we poor? Do we listen to the marketing team from Fox or the marketing team from MSNBC?

What do our parents think? What do our kids think? What do our friends think? What does our spouse think? What does our favorite celebrity say? What was our favorite athlete’s opinion? Who’s book did we read? Who scared us the most?

The fact is that we form our opinions first and then we go out and search for facts to make us right. And the facts are out there. You can twist any number, any statement, any fact you want to prove what you want to believe. This isn’t a debate of the facts. Every blog/article/”news” program you see today is going to list all of their facts and they will paint a picture that makes it seem like your side, your opinion, your perspective, your point of view is right or wrong. You’ll judge those words based, not on the validity of the facts but the way they fit with your own perspective.

The facts that prove you right are right. The facts that prove you wrong were twisted, gathered by biased organizations, improperly collected, given out of context. The problem isn’t that a health care bill passed or didn’t pass, people. It’s that we all know what’s right without having any real information. The problem is that we made up our minds before we even heard the facts. The problem is that we pick and choose sides and argue the talking points of that side like robots.

The problem is that we’re programmed to do so. Where do we turn to get real information from these days? Who is telling the clear unbiased truth? Who is uncorrupted? Who doesn’t have sponsors to answer to; advertising money to obtain? Who doesn’t have a motive? Who isn’t greedy? Argue all you want to today, light up the blogosphere with your facts and opinions. Flame on indignantly at those too foolish to see the facts you were fed and digested so willingly.

You’re silly people to think you understand the issue. You only understand the parts of it they want you to understand. Your opinions aren’t your own. You picked a side and borrowed their proof. You spout it out like you know what it means. You’re a fool. We’re all fools. Liberty died the day news became a way to make a profit. That’s a fact.