The recent healthcare debate has been angst-ridden to say the least. With something this big, everyone's bound to have issues, and compromise is the word of the day. But there's a limit isn't there?
The New York Times singled out two constituencies today - overweight people, and people who care about abortion rights. The "fat pride" [their phrase not mine] people argue that being heavy is not unhealthy (!?!). According to Linda Bacon, a professor of nutrition at City College of San Francisco, “What we’re doing in public health care policy is harmful. We give a direct and clear message that there’s something wrong with being fat.” The Pro-Life people argue that the government should not fund abortions because they are morally opposed to it.
The Center for Disease Control and the Office of the Surgeon General say that obesity is unhealthy, increases the risk of other diseases, and requires more medical intervention over the life of the patient. These are not guesses, there is data to back this up. Of course we're giving a direct and clear message that there's something wrong with being fat! What kind of moron (other than Ms Bacon) would say that's a bad thing? And yet, we have a huge (sorry) lobby that's now actively pursuing this agenda! Given how politicians whore themselves out to lobbies with voters, I have no doubt that we will see some Congressional panderer put forth a bill making obesity an American right.
IMO societal obesity is a failure - but our focus should be building a culture of health and fitness in our children. That's how we change things.
People are discriminated against based on how they look; obese people are obviously so, and therefore subject to discrimination. This is inexcusable. BUT - let's not mistake anti-discrimination as reason to argue that we should encourage obesity! Jeez!
In 1973, the United States Supreme Court held that a woman may abort her pregnancy for any reason, provided that the fetus is younger than 24-28 weeks (after which it is deemed to be viable - able to survive outside the womb). After 24-28 weeks, abortion must be available when needed to protect the woman's health.
IMO every abortion is a failure - but our focus should be on preventing unwanted pregnancies. That's how we change things.
The Supreme Court is the law of the land. If the law of the land states that abortion is legal, then how is it possible that the government's health insurance plan won't cover it? If a healthcare bill does get passed, I hope someone appeals this exclusion and that the Supreme Court has the fortitude to hear the case.
But this is all just sophistry. Here's the real absurdity:
The greatest impetus for healthcare reform is neither abortion nor obese people - it is serving the millions of citizens that don't have access to medical care. It is recognition that these un(or under)-insured Americans ought to have access as a matter of societal rightness. I couldn't agree more - a society is formed when people want to live together for mutual benefit; it is when the community works together to care of the one. IMO this is at the core of being human.
"Democracy" is a powerful word. According to Webster, two definitions are: "a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation"; and "the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privileges." Both American political parties are supporters of the democratic ideal - this is a big part of American foreign policy - bringing lawful democracy to those that don't have it. But when it comes to their own citizens, elected leaders on both sides of the aisle are flaunting both their own laws and the essence of democratic equality.
The absurdity must end.