Herbert Sweet

Herbert Sweet

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What is driving the noise about healthcare

In the public discourse on healthcare we tend to focus on the words and not the underlying emotions. This is a mistake.

Transcendent to the healthcare discussion are two driving forces. The first is fear derived from the current very real experience or at least the anticipation of loss of job, loss of retirement savings and value of home. Add to this the diminution of power of the traditional white Christian society and you will see a populace ripe for manipulation by demagogic influences.

The second force is the loss of civility in public discourse. This may have occurred when fear of authority quietly dissolved into history. While beyond the memory of most, there once was a time when respect for authority was the norm. The reason for that was because those in power were not reluctant to wield their power and everyone knew it. Looking back at some of that behavior it seems crude by today’s standards. Never the less, the exercise of power does create order and stability.

What is needed is some balance between the individual and the authority of those representative of the larger community – especially when individuals act with impunity towards it. Likely this will not happen as a result of observations such as this but, instead, will occur when the discord gets to such a level that it impairs any action at all. Then there will be a clamor for order and the cycle will reverse.

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