Nothing in recent memory has been so divisive as the battle over the Health Care Bill (aka Obamacare). Here are some links for further info that didn't work well on the Facebook group "Research - Health Care bill" that I administrate. Below is my take on the general issues of our times.

  • What powers does the Obamacare Czar have?"
  • We live in times that are significantly different in a number of ways from those in which I was raised.

    Children don't walk miles to school, or take buses into the city alone, (even when they get older) and concerns about drugs and abductions have become almost obsessive. Instead of teaching children to be responsible, we ensure that nothing harmful ever reaches them, thus stinting their experience with actual reality, and giving them an unrealistic confidence that nothing can go wrong which could be detrimental in the long run.

    Partisanship in politics has reached new heights in both intensity and in gamesmanship. When Robert's Rules of Order stopped making their editions reflect the actual behaviours in Congress, it should have made us aware that things were getting out of control, but then again, few of us read forwards on reference books. Faith in the integrity and intentions of government has fallen to new lows, as more and more information about the behind-the-scenes realities of campaign finance and lobbying see the light of day.
    There are signs that the polarization is starting to wane. Groups like Liberty on the Rocks are bringing together voters of all persuasions to listen to one another and try to come up with solutions, rather than spending time on partisan bickering.
    I did an interview with Amanda Teresi of Liberty on the Rocks that you may find interesting: Amanda Teresi Interview

    The internet has made spin-checking a lot easier. Claims made by politicians, companies, services, etc., can be checked with hundreds, even thousands of other consumers on internet lists, consumer online magazines, ads from competing companies, etc. Users are far less likely to fall for sound bites and simple explanations. Campaigns and issues groups are able to reach a great many more people on the internet without having to resort to buying expensive mailing lists and printing costs, although website creation is still difficult and expensive, sites reach worldwide.

    The other way children learn, through public schools for most, has changed radically, and for the worse. The mechanics of feeding a more centralized bureaucracy (like data for No Child Left Behind) has become a priority greater than discovering the learning styles (very individual) of the students, and focusing on optimizing what each child needs. This approach leads to boredom, teaching to the lowest common denominator, rifts and cliques are generated forcing students into competing camps, with all the instability that leads to. Home schooling has made great strides, only to have the bureaucracy attempt to clamp down, demanding that home school teachers be trained the same way as the less successful public school teachers.

    Centralization in general has increased. Every municipality belongs to organizations that further "train" them to conform to guidelines that seem to supercede listening to the concerns and requests of the voting public, the true constituents of local government. States are lobbied by groups attempting to standardize legislation on any one of a number of issues, from climate change to auto safety, taking time away from discussing community needs and statewide long-term planning. The most concerning part of this is that it removes the feeling that elected officials have any real responsibility for their decisions, which are viewed as simply following orders from more centralized lobbying organizations, further degrading faith in elected government officials.