Last August I wrote a post called “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Health Insurance Reform“. When the post hit my Facebook page it ignited quite a discussion…one that ultimately led me to de-friending an old friend on Facebook, and in real life as well.
During this process, the friend in question offered to give me $50 to pay for Health Insurance. While I don’t believe he intended the offer in malice, to me it showed a genuine lack of respect for me as an individual, and a fundamental chasm between the way he and like-minded others looked at their fellow humans.
It wasn’t until I saw this video of a recent Tea Party protest where one angry protester throws dollars at a man with Parkinson’s that I realized the reason why I reacted so negatively to his offer. My friend, regardless of intent, made me feel like the guy with Parkinson’s, sitting silently on the ground while insults and dollars are thrown at him, essentially telling him, “We’re healthy and rich, you’re sick and poor, now go fuck off!” If you haven’t seen the video, here it is:
We live in a world of our own making. How we treat our neighbors, family, friends…even when we disagree is the greatest measure of our humanity.
Before the de-friending occurred, somewhere amidst a $50 Paypal transfer and my outright shock of the depth of his self-entitled rant, he forwarded me a Glenn Beck video and asked me to watch it. Having never actually watched Glenn Beck’s show, I acquiesced. This turned out to be a bad descision.
Thinking that somehow Glenn Beck would convince me that Health Care Reform in this country would lead to Nazism in America was possibly THE WORST argument he could have presented. Here’s the ACTUAL VIDEO he sent me asking me my “honest opinion.”
I honestly didn’t know what to say. Trying to follow Glenn Beck’s line of reasoning or finding accuracy in his logic is like trying build a house of cards with a retarded kid who just keeps screaming “UNO! UNO! UNO!”
So yesterday, after my epiphany about the Tea Party Parkinson’s video, when I saw this brilliant rant about Glenn Beck by Jon Stewart, it all tied together for me:
This is how I lost a friend in the Health Care Reform debate: Compassion.
You see, you can’t quantify compassion. You can’t solve compassion with an equation or by throwing dollars at people any more than you can draw conclusions by drawing circles on a blackboard. When someone is sick, you shouldn’t have to ask if they can afford to live.
It shouldn’t even be a factor.
It’s not my job or my mission to convince my ex-friend otherwise. It just made me sad that he doesn’t see just how wrong he is. Or how he made me feel. Or how he chooses to treat his fellow man. He lacks the fundamental human capacity for compassion. And I choose to not to live in his compassionless world.
If we live in a world of our own design…of our own making…I want mine to be a compassionate world. A happy world. A world where someone with Parkinson’s or Asthma or Cancer doesn’t have to be mocked or condescended to because they are sick, or worry about whether or not their insurance provider will cover this particular trip to the emergency room. That’s MY American dream.
Unfortunately there are some friendships that have been sacrificed along the way. I’ll gladly trade those for logic and reason and compassion any day.
Now I’m going to go outside and enjoy the rest of this beautiful spring day. You should too!