Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What we deserve?

In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve.”

It was either Alexis de Tocqueville or Hunter S. Thompson who penned the preceding phrase, depending on which source you believe. Also could have been William Shakespeare or Thomas Jefferson.

It matters not who said it, I believe the principal to be true.

Note that the quote says “the people” and not just “people.” It's a collective statement. If you're the only person with any brains living on an island of idiots, you might not necessarily get the government you deserve. But your society as a whole, does.

I can't help but wonder how many of you felt I was talking about them specifically in the last paragraph. I won't ask for a show of hands, though. There was apparently plenty of hand raising last week. But that's neither here nor there.

It could be said that in this quasi-capitalist society in which we live, the people get the customer service they deserve. After all, what is capitalism but democracy with dollar bills?

Could it be said that the people get the health care they deserve? Really? Could we be so screwed up as a whole that we deserve the broken mess we have?

Cause let's face it, the health care system is broken from the top down. Or might it be from the bottom up. Really, who is to blame? The system? Or the system?

Yes, I realize I said system twice. The first system was the insurance carriers and the health care providers. The second system referred to us, the users.

Surely there is enough blame to go around. Yes, the insurance industry reeks of greed. I know of no other industry where you pay for something … and then have to pay extra if you actually use it. Anyone who's been to a hospital lately can attest to the fact that something is amiss there. You've got doctors and nurses answering to lawyers and bean-counters as if that somehow makes sense to anyone … other than the lawyers and bean-counters. It is, however, the “us” part of the equation that concerns me most. For I am not an insurance executive, nor a doctor, nor a bean counter. I am – for better or worse – part of the collective, “the people.”

So in steps government to fix things. The democratically elected government. The one we deserve.

God help us all.

Truly, one of the few things on the planet that I detest more than lawyers is politicians. Maybe it's because such a large percentage of them are actually just reformed lawyers.

I tend to believe less government is best, and as such abhor government involvement in most aspects of my life. I can only imagine what Thomas Jefferson would have thought of his government running the health care industry. I've been to President Jefferson's grave. I
imagine if I revisited it, I could hear him rolling over in it.

After all, it was definitely Jefferson who said, “A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government.”

I tend to agree with the Democrats that the health care system is broken. I just don't tend to agree with their idea on how to fix it.

But mine is a lonely voice, drown out by the collective, getting the government – and the health care – that “the people” deserve.