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What health care bill says about Americans

I stayed up late recently to watch all of the debate prior to the vote on the federal health care bill. I felt that I needed to be more informed about what to expect from this landmark legislation. For well over two hours, I listened to one after another of our members of Congress go on and on about the positives and negatives of this compromise plan.
I still don’t know exactly what the just-passed health care bill will do. I don’t know if it will bankrupt our government as opponents threatened or save a sick population and end our economic woes as proponents claimed. I didn’t hear much about what actually was in the legislation, which runs thousands of pages. I did witness a lot about the nature of people and systems trying to make changes, however. And here is what I think I learned:
1. Most people enter public service because they want to make life better.
2. Not all people see things the same way.
3. After studying an issue for so long, it is difficult to be objective about your views.
4. We tend to talk louder and in more definite terms the longer we go on.
5. Leaders find it difficult to admit that they are unsure about an idea because they do not want to appear to be weak.
6. It is easier to simplify a concept or action if you are in an attack mode.
7. Brains in leaders’ heads get tired and emotions get called into action.
8. When trying to convince the public of a specific concept, people often think they must get extreme in their descriptions of what will happen.
9. It is difficult to criticize ideas without attacking the people who hold them.
10. Issues are too complex for most of us to really understand the intricacies of a big piece of legislation, so we leave it to the ‘experts.’
11. A representative form of democracy is a difficult system in real life.
12. Decision makers, such as legislators, are ‘damned if they do and damned if they don’t’ on any piece of legislation.
13. We can’t predict the future. We can only make judgments based upon past experiences and speculate on what will follow. As with all decisions, there will be a lot of unintended consequences.
14. It is true: All Americans will have a stake in how this health care plan develops.
15. This is no time to play games, close our minds or give up. Nothing is etched in stone. Our new health care system is a living organism and we need to nourish it and help it mature.
16. We are committed to a participatory democracy. We can change things without getting angry and just blaming everyone else.
17. When you’re sick, you don’t care what political party is in power. You just want the pain to go away.
18. We are a brave people who do the business of our country in a very public way. Sometimes we look like ‘blunderbusses’ and other times heroes.
19. The process I saw played out over the past year sent me a signal of a healthy country with a place for debate, consensus and disagreement.
20. Personally, I am optimistic and proud to be an American, but, for now, I feel I now need to take two aspirin and go to bed.

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