I love observing human behavior. Maybe I'm just a sucker for the anthropological nuances demonstrated through our simple actions or, even more so, by seemingly inexplicable, irrational behavioral traits, or, maybe I'm just lazy and like to sit around and stare. Either way, people do interesting things.
Take this situation I watched unfold last week:
On Friday, my company offered free flu shots. While waiting in line, each person was required to fill out a form and separate it from the rest of the sheet of paper. There was no perforation, so a scissor was placed on the table to allow people to remove the form without having to tear it.
As I stood on line, one man left the area and returned with a razor knife - the kind which requires you to unscrew the casing to remove the blade. He proceeded to pick up the scissor and use its blade to unscrew the casing of the razor knife. I assumed he had an important need for the razor knife. After a five minute struggle, the casing was open, the blade set in place and the scissor once again used to put the casing back together. When this was accomplished, he placed his form on the table, and sliced it apart with the razor knife.
As he saw the wondrous look on my face, he explained - while holding his jagged-edged form - that he wanted to be able to cut it in a straight line. I just nodded and said, "Congratulations."
Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking: there's always a moral to a good J.E. Braun anecdote (though I'm not even remotely sure what might have given you that impression, you're still thinking it). You're thinking that I'm about to tell you how this situation parallels our government's approach to healthcare, right?
I mean, if this guy is the government and the separation of the form is healthcare reform, then it's a good metaphor. The simple answer - the scissors - are in the government's hands. In fact, they mention the simple answers all the time: portability, tort reform, ending waste and fraud in Medicare (supposedly simple since they plan on just grabbing that money to pay for the new healthcare system), coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Yet, when faced with simple answers, they complicate the situation by taking what sounds like a much better tool - the razor knife, spending loads of time and effort on it, never realizing that it is absolutely unnecessary and will, in the end, produce an inferior result (the jagged edge).
Frankly, I'm not that insightful. I just told you the story because it made me laugh, but now that I think about it, that healthcare thing was good!
I'm not sure, though, that fancy metaphors that put Washington's actions into perspective are even necessary anymore. Each day, the Democrats in the House and the Senate show their disdain for the American people. Take this example - last week, the Senate Finance Committee shot down a Republican amendment that would have required them to post any bill online in its full legal language - not just some conceptual summary that might not tell the whole story - for 72 hours before any vote. I guess Candidate Obama's promise of transparency was nothing but words. The House is now working on a similar resolution and Queen Pelosi has indicated she does not like it. The Republicans will try to force the issue if they can get 218 votes - they were in the 170s at last count. The resolution would also require Congress to post the Congressional Budget Office estimate with the bill. God forbid that information get out, right?
In addition, remember that whole "You lie!" thing from a few weeks back...when President Obama was giving his speech to the joint session of Congress and he said this healthcare bill would not cover illegal aliens? You might have heard about it. Joe Wilson was censured by House Democrats. Yeah? Well, remember how everybody said Wilson was crazy and the President was right, but then the Dems went back and made amendments to the bill so that illegal aliens wouldn't be covered? Uh huh. Well, now, a group of 20 Democrats is trying to push through an amendment to get illegal aliens coverage. These people are not legally in our country. They have skirted the law, overburdened our healthcare systems and continue to rely on services paid for by you and me and they don't pay a dime! I'm not sure about you, but I know that if I broke the law, I would get free healthcare, too - because I'd be in JAIL. Now, these Democrats want to not only ignore our immigration laws, but they also want these illegals to get coverage. I'm just curious, at what point do we stop coddling people who are breaking the law? Many LEGAL immigrants work at my company - and many of them have taken the proper path to become American Citizens. They abhor the treatment these illegal immigrants receive. But our legislator wants to continue to pass laws to protect them. Why?
Simple. Soon, President Obama begins pushing the issue of amnesty for illegals. If he gets that passed, that's a hell of a lot more votes for him and any other Democrat that helped pass this through. Offer healthcare benefits, driver's licenses, housing assistance, free education and you entice more and more future Democrat voters to cross the border. Once again, they are using an entire group of people and forsaking our nation's laws to gain political advantage.
But hey, I'm just selfish. I mean, let's let them all come over with no consequences. I mean, we have plenty of jobs, right? American unemployment is at an all time low. There aren't any Americans that need jobs. And we have plenty of doctors, support staff, etc. to take care of them. But somehow, if I feel granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants is wrong - if I feel we shouldn't be providing them healthcare and other services at the expense of legal American citizens and other legal residents, I'm a...you guessed it...racist.
At what point in our history was it that our elected representatives began putting the well-being of American Citizens - the people who put them in office - on the back burner? The idea that we have representation in Congress is a farce - one supported by the fact that the Senate plans to use reconciliation to pass healthcare - a method to allow them pass it with 51 votes instead of the fillibuster-proof 60 - despite the fact that only 41% of Americans support the bill in the latest Rasmussen poll (a new low).
They know better than us. That's what they're telling us. They're smarter than us and know what's good for us, even if the truth of the matter is rising costs, taxes and penalties (or possible arrest if you refuse to get healthcare coverage), and inferior care - they know better. And maybe it's true. Maybe we should sit back and let them open the razor knife with the scissor so they can cut that piece of paper, because obviously that's the intelligent thing to do. What do we know? We're just a bunch of rubes who would have probably used the scissor to cut the paper. How could they possibly trust us to have good judgement on our own?
J.E. Braun is the author of Paranoia, a 9/11 survivor's tale. Jim survived 9/11, but his life did not. Follow one man's journey through post-traumatic stress as he attempts to rediscover what once made life worth living. 10% of profits will be donated to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund (www.ttof.org). For more information, visit www.jebraun.com.