Thursday, June 28, 2012

Civility in Discussing Monumental Decisions

Like many in this country I was up and ready to hear the Supreme Court decision this morning on the Affordable Care Act, or as many like to call it - Obamacare. Many were waiting anxiously to have the entire law upheld. Others wanted all of it ruled unconstitutional. Still others thought maybe if they kept everything but the individual mandate they could live with the rest of it.

When the ruling came down, there was some serious confusion. Getting accurate information from Twitter was absolutely impossible. Even CNN and Fox News got it wrong for a few nervous minutes. Then the ruling was disclosed accurately. Obamacare – the ACA – was upheld -- all of it.

Some screamed for joy, while others wept for what they saw was an unjust decision and an overreach by the government. I was joyous. But I fully acknowledge that there are quite a few folks who are so disappointed right now. I feel for these folks. Sincerely.

Many times decisions that are monumental in nature leave us breathless. Sometimes with great joy and satisfaction that our side "won" the day and others determined to overturn the decision due to their side "losing." I have been on the losing side many times - and on the winning side - but it never feels like winning when people you love and care about are distraught.

However on this decision - I wholeheartedly believe that the Supreme Court (and the Congress) got it right. We have a health care crisis in this country that has to be addressed. And in the ACA a lot of those issues were indeed addressed - mandatory coverage of persons with pre-existing conditions, continuation of coverage for young adults until age 26, protections against going bankrupt from healthcare costs, coverage for all persons, and a way forward to care for all Americans. Yet, there are still going to be problems for us to address.

And I hope we can do that in a civil and open manner. This is what I posted on my Facebook page right after the decision:

I know that some of my friends are not happy with SCOTUS upholding Obamacare - but it helps so many people. I am proud that many poor and underemployed will be covered and that pre-existing conditions will continue to be covered. Seems that children up to age 26 can still be covered by their parents' insurance. I am proud of my government for caring for all. I acknowledge that for some this is a tough day and I want to say I care about you, too.

So far the responses have been positive. However, some have expressed their dismay. We can have civil conversations about policy and politics, religion and beliefs in humane and open ways. We have to acknowledge that whoever “won” means someone they care about “lost.” And we have to stop using win/lose analogies like I just used.

As I read scripture, God calls on us to care for one another, to uphold one another, and to love one another. Today, I think we can show how we understand this and care for each other during the debates about this monumental decision.

I pray for us all. And for our continued civil conversations on this and other monumental decisions in our lives and in our politics.

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