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That's a paraphrase of the title of a post on my Facebook feed last night.  Perhaps you've seen similar posts.  One of your friends knows someone who has been stricken with cancer, doesn't have insurance, or recently lost a job--and insurance--and is facing foreclosure and/or bankruptcy just to stay alive.

Usually, I just shake my head at these posts.  Sometimes, I contribute, if it seems legit.  But this one was posted by someone that I know is conservative and lives in a red state.

I couldn't help myself.  I responded thusly:

"I just wish I lived in a country where everyone could afford health insurance and good health care and didn't have to impoverish themselves just to get healthy."

I got a message back:  "Why is everything political with you?"

I have to admit that I'm the first one to make a political joke.  I find politics and politicians on both sides of the aisle, pretty damn funny.  But I also make political comments when the cognitive dissonance gets a bit too much for me to bear.  I sincerely believe that people who eschew politics do so because they really don't want to think too much about the folks they put into office.  They're content with their lives and beliefs and don't want to see the consequences of those votes on the rest of the nation--or their neighbors.

No one likes to be told that they're wrong.  I completely understand that.  

I have friends who worked on the Edwards campaign.  It's brutal to find out that the person you support has betrayed you.  It must have been awful to be on Anthony Weiner's staff.  It's not much fun in DC government these days.  

But your vote has a consequence.  You can't sit back and vote for McConnell, Paul, Alexander, Corker, etc.... Alan West, Joe Wilson, Paul Ryan, etc... and then expect me to feel all sorry for your friend who can't get health care because he lost his job.


Your vote has consequence.

Wikipedia quotes Henry George Liddell's and Robert Scott's etymology of politics:
The singular politic first attested in English 1430 and comes from Middle French politique, in turn from Latin politicus,which is the latinisation of the Greek πολιτικός (politikos), meaning amongst others "of, for, or relating to citizens", "civil", "civic", "belonging to the state", in turn from πολίτης (polites), "citizen"[6] and that from πόλις (polis), "city"
Maybe it's that down-home country sensibility that makes my red state friends disparage cities like the one I grew up in and the one I happen to live in.  Perhaps, out in the country, anything "from the city" is dirty and evil.  

It's easy to dwell on the annoyances of government...pesky regulations, weird laws, that sign that tells me I can't dump my garbage in the field over there, the speed camera up the street from my house that forces me to drive the speed limit, etc...

It is much harder to try and understand why we have those rules in the first place.  Why can't coal companies operate without safety equipment?  Why is is so hard to sell that high sulfur coal that is so common in the Eastern US?  Why can't we get oil and gas from shale any old place we feel like?  

Why do we have stop lights and stop signs at intersections?  They weren't always there, in fact, they were unheard of when we rode in horse buggies.  It wasn't until the invention of the car, which outpaced the horse, and caused collisions that we needed a traffic system.  No private entity created that.  it was government.  And traffic signals and signs are ubiquitous throughout the United States, in both the cities and the countryside.  When they break, no private corporation steps in to replace them.  It is tax dollars that pay for public employees that fix them.  Wasteful discretionary public welfare?

Which brings me back to health care.  Why is it ok for the government to mandate a tax on gas to pay for the paving of roads and highways but it is not ok for government to create a system where everyone can buy health insurance at an affordable price?

If health insurance is "too much government" why is paving millions of miles of roads not "too much government?"

But to think about these things...oh, that's dirty politics.  Why do I make everything so political?

Because, my friend, it is.  It is.  You vote, I hope.  I hope you think when you vote.  It would be nice if all your thoughts in that voting booth were integrated.  Think about your friend with no insurance who will soon lose his house because he had the misfortune to get cancer.  He's not lazy, just unlucky--but soon, he'll qualify for the food assistance program that your Senator recently filibustered.

Think about the clean air you breathe.  Think about the pristine lake in your back yard.  It would be a shame if some drilling firm discovered a natural gas reserve underneath your property and started drilling.  You know, they don't even have to tell you they're drilling.  They got the rights to the gas from the Governor you elected right along with your state representative and state senator that you elected as well.

Keep thinking it doesn't matter....until it does.  But don't blame me for getting all political...because everything is political.

Originally posted to suzq on Mon Jul 16, 2012 at 09:21 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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