America: Advanced Citizenship For Dummies

You know, it’s nice that the bill passed because now the Democrats will stop whacking on their own creation and start selling the finer points.  There’s something to be said for this bill.  A lot of somethings.  Most of them are good.  Some of them are about how, you know, it isn’t exactly health *care* reform.  But, that isn’t what this is about.
 
This blog really ins’t about my politics.  I don’t mind sharing them and I don’t mind heated discussions.  But, since this is for Claire, I thought it might be worthwhile to talk about something tangential to this health care discussion.  First, in short, I’m happy the bill passed.  Democrats snatched victory from the jaws of defeat from the jaws of victory.  Republicans have handed themselves a loss of EPIC PROPORTIONS, as they spent a year telling everyone it would be.  Hug a republican, their country died yesterday.  As for Obama, just another day I’m happy I cast my vote the way I did because, you know, I told you this would happen.
 
More relevant, I’m dismayed at the level of discussion on specific issues in this country.  I’ve heard so many say that they just don’t know enough about this healtch care issue.  It’s complicated and everybody seems to be lying, they say.  Well, you know.  That just isn’t acceptable.  So, you’re saying your an American and you’d like to know more about how this works for you. Well, use some of the American ingenuity and the Internet machine at your finger tips and do some of that new fangled reading the kids are so into these days.
 

It’s advanced citizenship and you have as much a duty to vote as you do to inform yourself. Brushing off your lack of knowledge due to the single news channel and the information your so and so passes to you second hand just isn’t an acceptable excuse.

Go to some websites and read.  Look at their sources.  Go find those sources and read them. Look at their sources.  Repeat until satisfied. Read op ed pieces. Read scholarly journals. Read university studies. Read. Form an opinion.  Any opinion.  Advocate for it. 

Accepting that it’s all quite complicated and electing not inform yourself just isn’t cricket, baby.  Because that type of attitude is basically why we spent six or eight months talking seriously in a fair and balanced way about the validity of death panels.

But, that’s just it: people lie! And I don’t know stuffs!

It’s true, people lie in a lot of columns on this subject.  So, go to a journal database and find some medical journals and start there. Or, search for health reform terms that interest you and only follow links to studies at first. Run by public institutions, schools government studies.

People lie.  And sometimes to the only way to start figure out what is noise and what is signal is to pick up a thread and start following. The problem with saying that people lie is that at some point you just have to wade in anyway. And, before you know it you’ve made a series of small decisions based on "people lie" that has led to you not really digging into the heart of any matter that interests you politically or however. 

Short term decisions based on people lie lead to the long term result of ignorance.  Replace "peoplpe lie" with "stuff is hard" and it works for the same point.

Lies sure can gum up the works though.  And with a subject where you feel like you don’t speak the language, that’s intimidating.  Some of those pieces are just entirely made up. But, you know with the entirely imaginary death panels, a lot of the folks kept citing pages from the particular bill.  Go to Congress’ website, or just Google for sites with the text and read the original text.  Then decide for yourself.

A lot of people who are lying tend to cite specifically because they know the act of saying "citation" cows a lot of people’s curiousity. If no where else to start, start with the reporters’ and opiners’ citations.

Or, you can start by scanning a lot quickly.  Keep an eye out for recurring subjects and terminology.  Make a list.  Then start checking items off that list by researching in a more in depth format.  It’s hard to start whn you aren’t even sure you can speak the language of the problem.  But, I’ve found that’s a good way to go.  It isn’t easy, at all. And sorting signal from noise is a pain.  Particularly when you aren’t sure what the signal sounds like. 

But, you know, that’s life.  And your boots will, and probably should, be a little mud covered at the end of the day. 

Stop asking people how to think.  We have access for pennies a day to greatest collection of information the world has ever seen.  Ever.  I can email a random scholar on the subject today and get an informed thought out response tomorrow.  You have no excuse to be uniformed. 

And if you don’t learn, it means you hate America, babies and puppies.

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