Tuesday, January 18, 2011


There are good reasons we have a "representative" democracy. If we wanted robo-decisions, it would be easy enough to turn everything over to polling computers and do away with elected officials altogether. As much as I value scientific, generalizable public opinion polling, I say we stick with a representative form of decision making.

Republicans bent on repeal of healthcare reform are driving an agenda that represents only 26% of Americans (page 2) and less than half of the just-more-than-a-third who affiliate with their Party.Capture

But, of course, they weren't elected to just represent Republicans or those who support repeal of healthcare reform.

They represent everyone in their districts and states, even those who choose not to vote at all. They definitely don’t just represent bully-pundits or lobbyists or anonymous corporate campaign donors either.

Representative democracy requires conversations, informed by reading, analysis, thoughtful discourse plus courage and open minds.

The AP-GfK poll referenced above which was conducted a week ago on healthcare reform also shows overwhelming support for nearly every element of the reform enacted last year with less than a third opposed to the most unpopular element, a requirement for virtually all Americans to carry healthcare insurance.

By the way, the largest group of Americans who want the act changed, more than 4 out of 10, want the reform to do even more to change the healthcare system.

Given the amount of misinformation and distortion about healthcare reform, it is astonishing that anyone at all favors any of it.

Suppose there were a way to let the 1 in 3 who object to the requirement to carry insurance to completely opt-out on the condition that they or their families never run up even the most indirect or hidden costs to the system.

That just isn’t possible. It would be like saying one is never use streets or roadways or the monetary system or to breathe unpolluted air.

A free society doesn't come free. It comes with responsibilities. And those responsibilities must be carried by everyone. No one gets to pick and choose. No one gets a free ride.

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