Oscar Romero, John Stewart, Stupidity, and Health Care

I am frustrated about Health Care Reform. However, it is not in a "tea party" sense, but rather I am annoyed that the reform did not go far enough. I am a bit angry that instead of truly making health care available to all, our government has simply given insurance companies more customers. Granted, many more will be able to get insurance and the corporations will be limited in their ability to deny coverage, but there has been no true regulation nor competition enacted.

Needless to say, I am a single-payer kind of guy. I understand many disagree with me, and that is fine. I can appreciate the validity of the other side's argument. I simply see this situation differently than they do. I believe that free and universally available health care is fundamental to a stable society. When we have such disparity in the quality of medical care based on things such as income, race, geographical location, etc., enormous segments of society become disenfranchised. This will eventually lead to protests and uprisings. However, in the short run it has already led to many "working the system" and passing the costs onto others. I believe that a society has the inherent quality of looking out for the well-being of each other. If we don't do that, especially on something as fundamental as whether someone lives or dies, then we are simply a bunch of individuals who happen to share space. We can be better than that, and universal health care is a significant step in that direction.

Unfortunately, that is not what happened, and I have been frustrated.

But a quote from Oscar Romero reminded me that though we may not see the desired end result, steps in the right direction are good as well. Here is the quote:

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.

If you aren't familiar with Romero, you should be. To our society's detriment, this is what many people think of the Archbishop's worth:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Don't Mess With Textbooks
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Reform

It is amazing how stupid some people can be, and it saddens me that often, stupid people seek power while intelligent people do not. I don't know why that is. Maybe stupid people are insecure and political office (or simply being on any committee that has influence over people) helps them feel better about themselves. Not sure. But, I do know that, based on this story, the Texas Board of Education is full of idiots.

Romero reminds me that fighting for what's right means that I will be constantly frustrated. This is why small steps in the right direction must be celebrated. So, even though I wish health care reform had gone much further, I celebrate the fact that 30million of my fellow members of society will have access to affordable heath insurance, thus providing them with the basic care that we all deserve.


Seth said...


Seth from Grove City YL here. Hope you're doing well. This was a great post today on all fronts, especially the Oscar Romero prayer/quote. I heard it early in college and it's always been one of my favorites.

A Modern Ancient said...


Thanks. How are you doing? Are you in Georgia?

Loren said...

The Oscar Romero piece is all too true. After all, the Berlin Wall stood long after it was fought over.

One day we (if God so chooses) will look back on all of this as the beginning of change. The full butterfly effect of these beginnings may not be completely realized as quickly as is desired. Some, if not most decisions don't render "drive-through" delivery of results.