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Considering what's behind people writing 'Letters to the Editor'
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      Several “letters to the editor” have focused on the recent health care bill passed by our legislative process. Sometimes I wonder what motivates us to write “letters to the editors“?
      Do we think we have information which will help others or teach them? Maybe we believe that we can make the world better and by saying so in print is more likely to make it happen. Or maybe it is our narcissistic need to see our thoughts in print. Maybe much of what we believe is illusion.
      Regarding the health care bill recently passed by Congress, some say it is not the will of the people, based on polls. Do polls express the will of the people, or is the will of the people expressed through their elected representatives going to Washington, D.C., to solve problems to “form a more perfect union” making laws many we do not like, such as paying taxes, or requiring drugs to be tested before the pharmaceutical market sells them to us.
      Nobody seems to say that the way we have been doing health care is OK. Some studies indicated that to continue in the past direction will cost us two or three times as much as the health care bill just passed. If the current health care bill is going to wreck us financially, the same wreck will happen much sooner the way we had been going.
      Some say that the health care bill will ration health care. We are already rationing it – around 40 million with no health care insurance and so many seeking medical care only in emergency rooms, which the rest of us are paying for in tax money or higher insurance premiums.
      Some say the health care bill is illegal, unconstitutional, because it requires some people to buy something they may not want to spend money on and if they do not will receive fines. Yet, the Sun. Statesboro Herald headlines read: “Seat Belt Use Falls” – a law passed by our governor, representatives requiring us to spend money on what a lot of people do not want to use – seat belts. Seatbelts drive up the cost of a car whereby we pay for something many do want to use and can be fined if they do not use them.
      I have not researched it in detail, but most of the young people dying in wrecks, as reported in the news, were not wearing seat belts. Furthermore, those surviving with injuries sometimes end up having the medical costs covered by the rest of us in some way, either through tax money or higher insurance premiums. Therefore, to require people to buy and use seatbelts or motorcycle helmets is one way to protect all of us from paying medical bills for those injuries which could have been prevented. And what about those ever-so-slow speed limits around schools which cost us in brake wear and gas by having to slow down and then speed up? And a fine is waiting if we don’t conform. Is this socialism?
      I have not seen any protests over the state requiring drivers to pay for liability insurance or pay a fee (fine?). Socialism?
As I have read the news, the conclusion comes that the economic recession we are trying to recover from and put so many millions back to work was precipitated by uncontrolled (unregulated) greedy individualism.
      Prominent neuroscientists Eric Kandel and Cordelia Fine present convincing evidence that we are aware of about only 10-20 percent of what is going on in our brains which have an amazing ability to deceive themselves. And since our brains develop biologically as well as they do as a result of the social connection to others, therefore our individualism exists only by breathing the air of socialism. Robert G. Putnam writes, “If you belong to no groups but decide to join one, you cut your risk of dying over the next year in half”. We are by nature “groupies” (socialists) after all. To keep our individualism in-balance we need some socialism; to keep our socialism in-balance, we need some individualism.
      Our challenge is to maintain a dynamic balance between the two for our well-being. Is our president an individualist? I see signs that he functions that way. Is our president a socialist? I certainly hope so and see signs that he functions that way. His job, the Congress, and ours is to seek a dynamic balance between individualism and socialism.
      Those who use the word “socialism” as a demonic word, do you want to rid us of Social Security and Medicare (socialist applications)? Those who want a small government, I would guess that you want it large enough to win World War II.  Remember that the government took away new cars and rationed rubber tires and gasoline for about four years.
      My illusions sometimes burst like balloons. May yours and mine not be water balloons.
Robert DeWester

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