Letter to the Editor

Time to unify on health care

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I have attended town hall meetings in St. Louis, Kennett and Poplar Bluff, and I am appalled and ashamed of most of the citizens attending these meetings. Free speech is a fundamental right in this country, but disrespect, rudeness and violence should not be the public face of something that we should cherish and value in this country.

People define this country as a Christian nation founded on Christian principles, but intolerance, violence and lack of social conscience are not the foundation of a Christian nation or of Christian values.

While other countries have declared health care to be a basic right, the United States treats health care as a privilege, only available to those who can afford it. In this sense health care in America is treated as an economic good like a TV or VCR, not as a social or public good.

At its root, the lack of health care for all in America is fundamentally a moral issue. The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not have some form of universal health care (defined as a basic guarantee of health care to all its citizens).

Can't we turn all this negative energy into something positive, a common ground to advance dialogue and create solutions instead of division and oppression? We are a nation of intelligent and creative people. Why are we not working to unify this nation instead of dividing it when we are in a time of deep financial, emotional and moral decline?

JIM SWINGER, Poplar Bluff, Mo.