A disturbing exchange recently occurred in one of my political science classes when one of my classmates was giving a presentation on Obamacare. She explained that the law would not affect 85% of Americans who already had health insurance, but the 15% of Americans who did not have health insurance would benefit from it.
At the end of her presentation, which to be fair was largely unbiased, she opened the floor for questions. I raised my hand and pointed out that over 3 million of those 85% of insured Americans had been dropped from their current plans. I asked her if, knowing that information, she would still concede that those Americans were completely unaffected. She was surprised to hear those numbers, but stated that she still believed the administration didn’t foresee such a negative side effect.
When I mentioned the memo that Forbes had released confirming that officials in the Obama administration projected as early as 2010 that 93 million Americans could lose their current plan, she had no response.
But my professor did, and she seemed bothered by my inquiry. (This is a professor who told us only weeks earlier that she took pride in learning that students could not tell her political persuasion.) She brushed off my remarks and essentially told the class that the reasons those plans are being cancelled is because they don’t cover everything that people might need.
The implication of her assertion is that the government knows what a good insurance plan should contain, so they enacted regulations that force companies to comply or drop their current plans. Sounds great, right? The government is simply behaving like parents who know what is best for their little children; they have swooped in and begun to play the role of puppeteer in the lives of their subjects.
There’s just one problem: we are not children, and the government has no valid reason to treat us as such.
If you shared my question with Edie Littlefield Sundy, a man suffering from stage 4 cancer who was dropped by his insurer, I am certain his response would differ from my professor’s.
If you ask the parents of 6 year-old cancer patient Ellie Porter from Salt Lake City how they feel about their daughter’s insurance being dropped, I am confident they would not respond positively either.
I’ve been angered in classes before by the blatant liberalism of some of my teachers and professors. I had a history teacher in high school who told us those involved in the Boston Tea Party were terrorists. Another created an assignment (for a grade) that was based in luck and when students lost he told them, “Well, that’s capitalism, some win and some lose.” He didn’t offer any way out of that loss like real capitalism does; if you lost in his class, you just lost.
Those moments angered me, but this bothered me in a new way. This nonchalant ignorance of facts has the capability of negatively affecting those I love. In other words, I saw just how liberalism in the classroom can have real world implications.
This fight became real for me when my mother was was diagnosed with breast cancer during the summer of 2012. I attended her weekly appointments and I would sit there, watching the monotonous drip of her clear chemo medications travel from the plastic IV bag into her body, and I would absorb the conversations of those around me.
Everyone was talking about Obamacare: the nurses, the doctors, and especially the patients. They all speculated about how this law, once implemented, could alter their access to life-saving treatment. The specifics differed, but they were all consumed by a distinct fear, fueled by more then just their fight for survival. For us, Obamacare suddenly became far more than thousands of pages of legislative nonsense and rehearsed talking points.
This fight became real for me when my mother’s face turned white as I read her that Wall Street Journal piece by Mr. Sundy, and she knew that that could have been her.
We are lucky because it wasn’t. Her plan is still intact, at least for now. But just because we are the lucky ones doesn’t give us the benefit of forgetting about the unlucky ones.
So I will fight on. Against the false hope of liberalism, against the broken record of left wing academics, against the mistruths spoken by our president and the disaster of a failed website that echoes failed legislation. But I can’t win this fight alone.
I am one red student in an ocean of blue academia. Every single one of my fellow students needs to get involved. We are looking at a future that belongs to us, not to them: we can be instrumental in the elections that will determine the path of our country and its legislation. We cannot continue to sit idly by as educators poison impressionable minds and encourage them to think in terms of short-lived gratification. We must use our voices to counteract theirs.
We are the underdogs, and that isn’t a bad thing. It just means we must learn to fight differently. These professors and academic elites may have the podium, but we have our youth. We have fresh ideas, and our hearts are tied to the pulse of today. We can win, but winning means speaking up even when you are told to be quiet.
“Standing on your feet, there’s sometimes some pain, sometimes some fatigue that is involved. But you know what? There’s far more pain involved in rolling over… far more pain in hiding in the shadows, far more pain in not standing for principle, not standing for the good, not standing for integrity.”
Senator Ted Cruz
It doesn’t matter how old you are, what your GPA is, or whether you go to an Ivy League school or a community college: you have a voice, and you should use it. Find a way to understand and then communicate to your peers why legislation like Obamacare is so dangerous. Start conservative clubs on your campus, pen a blog, tweet until your fingers hurt.
Do something, because this fight is worth it.