Friday, March 26, 2010

Public Responsibilities and cultural differences

I have remained quiet on this blog for the last couple months, but that has not stopped me to experience cultural issues in collaboration. I was in the US last week when the healthcare debate heated up, and frankly, I was appalled of what I saw. There not being collaboration between rivaling parties, particularly in a by-party situation, should not sound astonishing for anybody, but the quality of the arguments used and the threats made, was extremely low.

As a European, I cannot understand a democratic state allowing 50 million of its people (1/6th of the countries people) no access to healthcare at a reasonable cost. But that’s the US, capitalism at its best (or worst… depends on the viewpoint).

I cannot accept clearly false advertizing on political issues, such as some of the adds run last week on television. Then you have the clearly partisan and aggressive approach to political news by Fox. And now, threatening and violence because a majority passed the law. And this from the country that advocates democracy and pushes it in the middle east and Asia? Sorry, I don’t understand anymore.

Rather than giving clear explanations of what the issues are and what alternative approaches are possible to give all Americans an appropriate healthcare coverage, the politicians and the media have exacerbated the debate, encouraging violence. They are to blame for the current disaster. There is way too much money at stake, and the insurance companies are in no way estranged from what is happening.

In a debate there are facts (that can be proven), prognoses (that are the results of careful analysis), deduction (that result of the analysis of the previous two) and opinions (that are personal). Frankly, I have heard very little from the first three. In an advertisement titled “Washington does not listen”, I heard that providing healthcare coverage to all Americans would increase unemployment (why and how much?) and would raise taxes (maybe, but then how much and for whom?). If I managed to read the last image well, this was sponsored by the association of insurances…. They have no stake in the debate, don’t they?

Being it within an enterprise or in a country, running a democracy and allowing all to voice their opinion is not easy. But frankly what I have seen last week is no democracy in my mind as there is NO respect for the others opinion.

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