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What Americans WantPosted Wednesday, March 24, 2010, at 10:35 AM
For the past year, I have maintained a silence, at least on my blog, about the issue of health care reform, mostly because I didn't feel I could say anything that hadn't already been said. We heard mostly reasonable arguments from the left, along with an abundance of ridiculous and unbelievably rude accusations from Tea Party folks and the like. Now, the issue has been resolved, and I am mostly thrilled about it. Republicans, however, are not, and they plan to fight to repeal the legislation.
As I watched "NBC Nightly News" last night, I heard interviewees say repeatedly that the reform package is not "what the American people want." Aside from the obvious fact that I am an American person and it is what I wanted, I was struck with another objection to that argument: what we as a people want is not always what is best or needed. To that end, I made a list of things that we also want and mostly have, but are not necessarily good.
>> We want to eat whatever we want, without regard to the effects on our health and the environment. Bring on the Twinkies, carbonated beverages and other highly processed junk; drive through the drive-through because cooking is "too expensive"; order that 16-ounce steak at the restaurant, even though it takes 1,799 gallons of water to produce it, and a single serving of meat is just 3 ounces. And, instead of exercising or just being active, spend the evening in front of the television, letting those extra calories solidify into fat cells.
>> We want to buy whatever we want, without regard to the effects on the environment and the health and wealth of others. Head to the discount supercenter to buy products made in some far-off nation, where labor laws are less restrictive and factories freely pollute the air and water around them. And, by shopping at that purveyor of cheap goods, neglect the local stores and businesses that already struggle against chain retailers.
>> We want to be the best at, and have the best of, everything, with as little effort as possible. No tax increases to pay for better roads or high-speed Internet, or even improved science and math education, which will help students be competitive on an international level. Not even tax increases to fund two wars being fought supposedly to preserve our freedom and security.
I would also like to add that previous sweeping social changes were not necessarily what the majority of people wanted at the time. The women's suffrage movement, in America and other Western nations, was a long-fought battle against a male-dominated society that believed the woman's sphere only encompassed home and family. Those involved were condemned, and even jailed, for their actions.
And then there's the civil rights movement. After the Supreme Court ruled, in its 1954 decision Brown v. Board of Education, that separate was not equal, federal troops were necessary to help integrate Central High School in Little Rock. I hope no one would argue that these important advancements were a mistake just because they were at one point unpopular.
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Sydney is a former staff writer for the Democrat-News. She received degrees from University of Missouri in both music and magazine journalism. She played oboe with the Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra and the Marshall Municipal Band while she was in Marshall.