Come, let us all celebrate the new spirit of bipartisanship that's sweeping the land. The air is cleaner, the water tastes like it came from a mountain stream, poverty is being erased, global warming has been tamed, the economy is robust. And, inside the beltway, one sees a new spirit of compromise and cooperation that makes it a snap to resolve thorny moral/political issues such as the right of medical providers to not engage in practices that violate their religious or moral views.
For example, just Saturday, The Washington Post reported on the administration's rollback of a Bush administration regulation protecting health care workers who didn't want to perform abortions or engage in other medical practices they found objectionable.
"We've been concerned that the way the Bush rule is written, it could make it harder for women to get the care they need," said an HHS official who spoke on the condition of anonymity for the same reason. "It is worded so vaguely that some have argued it could limit family-planning counseling and even potentially blood transfusions and end-of-life care."
Okay, that's reasonable, right? The Bushers were too extreme. Let's find common ground
Interested parties from across the political spectrum reacted to the announcement with a refreshing and long awaited tone of reconciliation and good will, all seeking a reasonable solution to this latest regulatory Gordian knot. The administration noted that people have 30 days to comment on its action, and that they're willing to compromise.
Don'tcha just love that word – compromise. Makes ya feel all warm and fuzzy inside like ya just swallowed a large, hairy caterpillar, and it's dancing in your belly.
Consider the thoughtful comments of David Stevens, head of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations: "It is open season to again discriminate against health-care professionals. Our Founding Fathers, who bled and died to guarantee our religious freedom, are turning over in their graves."
Or, on the other side, look at how willing some are to seek regulatory changes that meet all needs. "Our general feeling is this was an area that does not cry out for further clarification," said Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National Women's Law Center. "I would be skeptical."
Yes, Obama Nation has brought us beyond the dark and divisive politics of extremism and ideological purity to a new world of — well — extremism and ideological purity. But it's different, right? I mean, you can just feel the love. Oh, my fellow Americans, be the love. (Without sex, of course.)
So here we are, trapped in a moronic debate over something the solution to which is too simple for complex minds to comprehend. Ladies and gentlemen of the far left and right, get a fucking life, please — for all our sakes. If nothing else, you're boring most of us to death, and there's not much worse a condemnation of anyone than being called boring.
It is simple, you melon-brained barbarians. I will spell it out in simple language even a member of Congress can understand.
- No health-care workers shall be required to perform any procedure or engage in any activity they believe violates their moral or religious beliefs. Is that so hard to understand? Can any sentient being think this wrong? And for you pragmatists, would you really want health care from someone acting under duress? Getting treatment is scary enough these days–why make it worse?
- All medical professionals have a fundamental, moral responsibility to see that patients receive the treatment they desire. Is this too complex for you? You may not approve of abortion, and it's your right to say no, but, as a member of the medical community and a member of society, you cannot impose your moral or religious views on others. Think blood transfusions are evil? Okay, that's cool, if weird. But recognize that others may not share your belief. You chose this job knowing the responsibilities to patients it requires. Just say no and pass them on to someone who says yes.
- Ergo (Latin for "If you don't get it, pound rocks), all those identified in number 1, above, must ensure that those patients are referred to appropriate health-care providers in a way that makes it easy for them to receive treatment. Show them the same respect you're being showed. It's your ethical responsibility to see that the hand off happens before you relieve yourself. No sending people to clinics in Lithuania; no lectures, pamphlets, or spitting; no pretending to be deaf.
Any institution that tries to force people to engage in stuff they find yucky is in violation of the law and shall be punished accordingly. Any health-care worker who gives a patient a referral slip written in Tagalog shall be warned. Subsequent infractions could result in fines, reassignment, dismissal, or being tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail.
This approach does require a modicum of maturity and mutual respect. Aye, there's the rub. But, we hasten to add, this rub is no longer abrasive in our president's new world. Smile on your neighbor. Tear down that wall. Take an Indian to Lunch.*
We all know that Congress, activists and do-gooders, extremists from across the political spectrum and the media hate, simply hate simplicity. Boys and girls, how can they do their jobs if problem resolution was as simple as being reasonable and respectful? Congressional sessions would last weeks rather than the three months they're actually in session. Activists and religious purists would find themselves in the Sahara fund-less desert. And the media would be left with nothing to report.
Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I ran the D.C. office for an international public relations firm. We handled some controversial issues, and there was one inviolate rule: If we're hired to work on an issue or for a company that you find objectionable, you have the right to say no, and no one would think the worse of you for it. Quite the opposite, I made it clear that I had a lot of respect for those who had the courage to refuse an assignment. I also made it clear that if one refused all assignments on ethical grounds, then we'd probably sit down and talk about helping one find other employment.
It worked. One of my best people told me he couldn't work on a controversial environmental assignment. As associate director, I told my boss that I wouldn't work for a certain company with a history of abusive employment practices in Asian sweat shops. And virtually no one would work for tobacco companies.
See, the spirit of Obama lived back in the '80s and '90s. Shows you just how powerful this guy is. I mean, back then, he was in Indonesia or something.
So let us all join hands and do the Snoopy happy dance in celebration of our brave new world. Or as the French would say, Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose, or the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Ah… to have reached the mountain top.
*Stan Freberg's album, The United States of America, The Early Years
In Jameson Veritas*
*Now, I must confess, a paid political announcement.Powered by Sidelines