Running with scissors. All children do it at one time or another. Most of us can remember from our childhood an adult stopping our headlong flight as we hurtled toward disaster while carrying a sharp pointy object. Most of us can also remember not being particularly grateful for being stopped in our tracks by a meddling grown up. Escaping serious bodily injury to ourselves or some other victim wasn’t much a motivation for us as children.
The ones who aren’t stopped or fail to heed warnings sometime hurt themselves. Other times they stabbed some hapless soul whose only mistake was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Watching the town hall meetings on television and attending the health care information meeting sponsored by a local talk radio station at Trace Creek Baptist Church last week, I have to wonder if the media, politicians and pundits are running with scissors.
In the interest of scoring points on the other side, our leaders – and yes, media types are leaders, much as we may deny it – are hurtling along with no regard to the consequences of their words. Simply put, the media is scaring their viewers to death in coldly calculating bids for ratings. Politicians are frightening their supporters for no other reason than political advantage. Pundits who know nothing get paid to keep talking – and they never back up and admit they were wrong. Never.
Rumors of government intervention into the relationship between doctor and patient are rampant. No one stops to ask the question of “What relationship?” A doctor told me recently that she is supposed to spend two minutes on each patient. That doesn’t seem long enough to build the sort of relationship that we all fondly remember from days gone by. It is no longer Ole Doc Whatsisname. It’s Fill in the Blank Associates, LLP or LLC.
Americans are kidding themselves if they think that doing nothing about the present broken health care system will return us to the days of yesteryear when doctors made house calls, sat on bedsides and listened to problems not related to their specialty.
The really scary thing is that we cannot seem to have a conversation about health care without bringing out sharp pointy words. We yell at each other and name call like children on a schoolyard.
We communicate with those on the “other side” of the argument with a series of humphs and grunts. They are not listening. They don’t understand. They are stupid. They are many things – none of which are complimentary. Bullheaded. Ignorant. Socialist. Government lackeys. Rednecks. Anti-American. Murderer. Corporate stooge. Alien.
We do this to each other because we are afraid. We are afraid that we will lose what we have.
I am afraid of this time.
I am afraid we will lose our power to speak to each other with quiet voices. In reasoned discussion.
We are running with scissors. We need a grown up to stop us.