Monday, January 23, 2017

LISTEN, PLEASE

Those planning to rush ahead with plans to "repeal and replace" ("replace"? really?)) the Affordable Care Act owe it to their constituents to listen to what they want--in some cases, not what they say they want, but what they really want, which is often clearly different: there is plenty of evidence to show that many Americans don't realize that the Affordable Care Act and Obamacare are one and the same, and that many of the features of the ACA are precisely what they want and desperately need by way of health care coverage. The Republican mantra of "repeal and replace" denotes nothing more than a dangerous and irrational act of spite.

Listening is rapidly becoming a lost art. We are all so busy airing our own opinions that we have little time for, or interest in, listening to the opinions of others. This seems especially true, regrettably, of the man to whom Republicans now pay obeisance as their "president." It is also true of Republicans themselves, who turn a deaf ear to the wishes of the people they are elected to represent in their rush to enact a decades-old agenda to dismantle not only social programs but also the government that provides them. Their other mantras, "small government" and "lower taxes," are easily taught, parrot-like, to an electorate persuaded with false promises that they will benefit from these platitudes. They are less easily put into practice. In the coming months we shall see how successful the Republicans will prove, now that they are in the majority in both the House and the Senate and have the White House in their hands.

A genuine effort to listen to the wants and needs of real people dealing with real challenges in their lives, as well as to the voices, opinions, and proposed solutions of political opponents, would lead, I believe, to the kind of mutual respect and collaboration in government that would bring about the results from which we all will benefit; and eventually, perhaps, to what Obama aspired to as a "more perfect union." Closing ears, along with eyes, heart and minds is not only supremely arrogant, it's also destructive.


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