Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Is Value Lost in Translation?

WOW! It's been 18 days since I posted. As usual, things are happening very fast here in DC and it's hard to keep up and to not get lost in the shuffle.

Health care is the hot topic right now and I've been following the developments closely and attending hearings on the Hill. Frankly, I'm not liking much of what I'm hearing. Universal health care is a good idea in principle, but it is very tricky to work out in real life without someone getting the short end of the stick.

Before we go any further, let me say this: Yes, I have read the WHOLE bill. THE WHOLE THING! ALL 100+ pages of it!

My eyes are tired and I need new glasses, but I did it. It made for some really "interesting" reading. I felt almost as if I were reading an early 20th century writing from someone in Germany about eugenics. Rather than focusing on healthy life styles and treatability of various conditions and diseases, it's all about cutting costs. It's all about illegal aliens getting free health care at tax payer's expense. It's all about the government telling doctors how to practice medicine. They will be forced to do procedures that are against their consciences and, I might add, against the meaning of The Hippocratic Oath to which every physician ascribes. It's about end of life issues that should be left up to God, like when a person is going to die. It's alarming stuff.

The President stood up in front of an open meeting with the AARP and stated that much of what has people, especially senior citizens and people with disabilities, alarmed has been lost in translation. What does this mean? Does this mean that the legislation was written in some sort of code that only the people that wrote it understand? Does this mean that those same people think that Americans are so trusting that they will swallow anything the government throws at them? What does it mean?!

To me, when something is lost in translation, it means that it was spoken in one language and when rewritten or spoken in another language some of the meaning is lost. It does not mean that the words suddenly take on different meanings in the same language depending on the audience.

All sorts of things get lost in translation. My husband and I loose stuff in translation with each other all the time. I speak Female and he speaks Caveman. We have our share of misunderstandings but are able to work through them with God's help and a choice to not let it fester when there's a splinter in the skin of US.

There is a provision in this bill that would create a regulation within socialized medicine, including what is already Medicare/Medicaid, that a person who is chronically ill, disabled, or elderly will be interviewed every 5 years to determine if they need to commit suicide. It says "counseling sessions" will take place. In plain English, it means that if you are too expensive to maintain, you will be helped to end your life whether you want to or not.

Getting back to the President's little conference. After being asked point blank what that section meant, he hemmed and hawed and admitted that he'd not read the legislation. This from a man who promised to post all pending legislation on the internet so everyone could read it, understand it and advise their Congressmen how they wanted them to vote.

After hemming and hawing some more, he said something along the lines of this: I really think this has been misunderstood. End of life issues are directives such as a living will, power of attorney, and the like.

Excuse me?

It says in plain English (they didn't even try to dress it up with political speak) that the counseling sessions will happen and what will be discussed. It doesn't use the word euthanasia, but it does discuss assisted suicide. It also discusses rationing health care and people besides you and your doctor making decisions about your health care and, ultimately, your life.

I am very proud of the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats who have stood firm and not allowed the bill out of committee to the House floor for a vote. Hopefully, this will be the case until the gavel is down for the August recess. If the Congress votes the way that Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Obama want them to, there will be a revolt in the ranks and the midterm elections of 2010 will be UGLY. People, once they truly understand what is in this legislation are going to be furious and vote to replace those who voted for it with better representation.

The bigger thing lost in translation here is the value of every life that comes into being. Everyone has something to contribute and something to teach. The elderly are to be honored and listened to. They are to be cared for, not discarded as useless millstones. Those with chronic illness should not be put to death because they are sick. Find a cure...or a way to treat the illness so they can get on with their lives. People who are disabled may communicate differently, they may move differently or they may not see things visually as others do. Still, they have something to offer. The focus of our health care system should be on promoting health lifestyles and treating diseases as they come up. A child shouldn't be euthanized because of being born with a disability. The parent shouldn't be sterilized because they fathered or gave birth to a child with a disability.

The Founding Fathers of this country understood that life was precious in all its forms. The founding documents of this country include statements like, "the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." They believed in a culture of life, not expedience or survival of the fittest. To this day, those concepts that are available to be read in black and white, braille, or on line are still clearly understood. The meanings of their words and the values they espouse have not been lost in translation or changed over time.

So, then, how is it that a piece of legislation can be misunderstood when the words are in plain English? Could it be that the meaning hasn't been lost in translation and this change that the majority voted to adopt in November of 2008 is not what it was thought to be? Was something that was misunderstood in the first place? Or are blind eyes being turned to the reality of what that change means? Are we choosing to loose the translation?

All I know is this. Every single person ever created has some sort of value. The question asked should be "what does this life have to offer, no matter how large or small?" The question should NOT be "how much is it going to cost to sustain this life?" The government's job is to protect its citizens, not kill them when they get too expensive.

It is a matter of perspective, not a translation problem.

1 comment:

  1. Your passion and your heart comes through loud and clear here, Melissa. It's not just about a bill or politics, it's about people, and you put such a clear and honest voice to this issue.

    Keep at it, girl. And, keep writing about it.