Congressman Steve King isn’t known for his political subtlety. But his latest remarks on the Republican-led health care repeal effort, are beyond the pale.
Steve King, the Iowa representative who most recently described the USDA discrimination settlement with black farmers as “reparations,” broke the unofficial, post-Tucson shooting ‘Age of Civility’ yesterday by lambasting the left’s health care reform.
Democrats are motivated, said King, by an “irrational Leftist lust for socialized medicine.”
The Republican, who once described the President as “very, very urban,” continued, “What has made this a unique and great nation? It’s not been dependency. It’s been individualism. And the Democrats are creating dependency, and we are trying to save individualism.”
Now, I understand that Republicans and conservatives are against President Obama‘s health care reform plan, and I understand that they need to employ some bombast to hammer their point. I fail to understand, however, what is “irrational” about wanting to insure your fellow American citizens.
King insists “Obamacare” would destroy individualism, but that’s a spurious claim. We know by now that humans are motivated by self-interest. We all want to succeed in our respective fields, and we all want to make sure there’s food on the table. But some people also want to make sure their friends and neighbors share, for lack of a better term, the wealth.
Most human beings don’t look at a homeless person and think, “Well, that person just deserves to die.” Nor would you think the same thing about someone who can’t afford health insurance.
You may think they’ve made mistakes or screwed up their life — both of which may be true — but certainly you wouldn’t try to strip someone of their humanity or to their right, laid forth in the Declaration of Independence, to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” a guarantee that’s hampered by medical bills or, in other cases, lack of access to medical care.
But the health care debate’s pretty heated, so let’s look at this a different way. Say you move into a new neighborhood. Let’s call it, for the sake of nostalgia, Knots Landing. If you and your neighbors decide, since there were robberies a few streets away, to form a neighborhood watch, is that irrational? You’re trying to protect the group, not just yourself, and expect that others will do the same. Collective action here, as in health care reform, protects everyone, not just the select, elite few.
Regardless where one stands on the health care debate — or any other debate, for that matter — it’s not “irrational,” a synonym for absurd, demented and nonsensical, to care about your fellow citizens.
The “united” states aren’t just states. It’s a mentality. We’re one community, however far flung and heterogeneous, and caring about your fellow man should not be called “irrational.” Such thinking can be defined by another word that starts with “I:” irresponsible.