Friday, March 09, 2012

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

It's a simple question.
It's too bad that the answer doesn't appear to be quite as simple.

At the risk of stating the obvious and simultaneously offending both sides of an argument, sometimes we need to stop talking long enough to really hear what the other side is saying. We have as much of an obligation to make sure that we are understanding the other guy as we have to make sure that they understand us.

For example:

Let's look at the mandate that employers or insurers are required to provide benefits that go against their beliefs; in this case, contraceptives.

One side sees the issue as a religious freedom issue; the other side sees it as a women's health issue. Since these are very different perspectives, it is no wonder that they can't come to a solution. Personally, I think that the Catholic Church or any other religious organization has the right to decide that they are not going to provide for benefits that are contrary to their beliefs. And employees (or persons eligible for coverage) have the right to choose not to work for them or attend their schools.

The President's solution that insurers would provide the benefits at no cost to the employer (Church) or the employee was faulty in that the insurers are not going to provide the coverage for nothing; they're in business to make money, not give it away. Addressing the problem from the employees side without consideration to the insurer's needs doesn't help any more than the Church ignoring the desires of its employees. It seems reasonable to me that the three parties involved (Church, insurer, insured) should be able to work something out and the government isn't really needed here. I do realize that the persons eligible for coverage aren't always employees and don't always have an organization or union to negotiate for them, but their desires can still be addressed.

Is it unreasonable for the employer to negotiate for the insurers to make optional coverage available at a cost to the insured?
Is it unreasonable to understand that if you choose to work at a Catholic hospital or University (or attend a Catholic university) certain things won't be covered and you accept that as a condition of employment (or enrollment)?
Is it unreasonable for the Catholic church to recognize that not everybody that is eligible for coverage is of the same faith and may have some different needs and expectations than members of their own faith?
Is it unreasonable to try to understand an issue from another person's perspective rather than always insisting on our own way?

Why is it that when what you want infringes on my rights, I'm outraged; but if what I want some how infringes on your rights, that's just too bad for you?

It seems as if our society has digressed so far that we no longer want to live as a society. We are no longer the United States of America. We are now either red states or blue states. We don't want ideas from our political adversaries (because we know that they will be stupid ideas) and we don't plan on compromising on any of the ideas that we have. We have decided to hate one another rather than to help one another.

Our politicians make outrageous claims and promises of how they will represent the people and then only take care of the people that have the money to keep them in office. I used to be very much opposed to term limits. I'm not anymore. Today, I believe that limiting terms will also limit corruption. I really wish that my senators would represent Missouri, my congressman would represent my district and businesses that don't directly impact our state would be unable to "buy" their loyalty.

Media outlets, religious leaders, even celebrities, are all trying to convince/compel/coerce you into voting the correct way. They'll beat up and belittle one side, and praise and worship the other. There seems to be little loyalty to the truth (unless we're only talking about the stuff that each side chooses to believe as truth).

Ugh! November 6 seems like such a long time away.
It going to be a long year...



Mike said...

'It's going to be a long year...'

Now there's a truth everyone can agree on.

Anonymous said...

Well said! I truly believe disputes could be settled more quickly if we all took the time to listen. The art of communication starts with listening, really hearing another's view.

Bilbo said...

Very well stated, John. The complete lack of ability or willingness to see all sides of an argument and work toward principled compromise is one of the worst features of modern American political and religious life. It's too bad that the contraception issue has blown up the way it has, because it manages to combine the ... uh ... thirdest of third rails: politics and religion, neither of which tends to accept the validity of any other points of view. It is, indeed, going to be a very long year.