BY SHARON MARTIN
We all really want the same things – a safe place to tuck our children in at night, enough food on the table, people who care about us, good health, an appropriate education, opportunity. What in that is controversial? And what do we have to do to extend the hope of a good life in a decent country to everyone?
Let’s start with health and job security. We have to protect the citizens from polluters and monopolies, but jobs versus safety it isn’t an either/or situation. We can have clean air and water; safe food; sustainable agriculture; clean, affordable energy; and good jobs. It just requires balance.
One of the cries in the run-up to passing the Affordable Care Act was this: “If we expand the system to everyone, we won’t be able to get in to see our doctor.”
Don’t be a healthcare hog. Let’s figure out how to insure that there are enough medical providers for everyone.
It isn’t about profits but sustainability. We have to keep the hospital doors open. Doctors, nurses, and medical scientists should be able to earn a living, but the capitalist model might not be the right one for healthcare if it denies care to an unlucky slice of the population. In what world is that OK?
Everyone deserves an appropriate education. Do you fancy yourself a reformer? Do you have expertise? Why not run your ideas past the classroom teachers and the working administrators.
You might have a great idea, but really, if you’d call a plumber to fix a leaky faucet, why would you ignore the real education experts to fix education?
We all need opportunity to succeed. Not everyone will. But unless we want to leave behind a world in which our children must hide inside thick walls because we’ve denied basic opportunities to a huge chunk of the population, we have to make some changes.
Maybe we need to rethink our business, education, and healthcare models.
Change won’t happen with an all or nothing approach. Compromise isn’t a dirty word. Profit and growth aren’t the last words. But we must shake hands and start talking.
Working together is how we’ll get things done.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer