I saw that quote from Margaret Thatcher you included at the bottom of your last e-mail. At first I brushed it off because it seems to refer to some of the gross mischaracterizations that are going around in some circles these days, but then it seemed to stick in my craw which suggested that there was something much deeper at stake. So here's what came out when I thought about it more thoroughly:
The United States of America today is some wierd amalgam of capitalism, democracy, socialism, federalism, republicanism, and numerous other isms. That's just the way reality is, so simplistic labels are all wrong. But more important than the label for the complex system is our moral sense of what that system is supposed to do. All the wisdom teachers throughout the world agree that we have a moral duty to care for one another. The last administration's policies seem to be dedicated to wasting our resources on hating one another. When you pick your favorite ism to make it the enemy then you are attacking part of America. Some people pick on socialism, some of my friends pick on capitalism or conservatism. They're all wrong. Caring for each other is the right thing to do, even when it's hard. And there is no harder time to care and no harder person to care for than someone who has hurt you. Ask Jesus, he knows all about that. And it seems shameful to me that some people are determined to allow the systematic denial of health care for millions of Americans by private insurance companies to continue.
The problem with recent government policies (which Thatcher, Reagan, Bushes 1&2, and probably even Clinton implemented) is that making the rich richer interferes with our ability as citizens to care for one another. I want the government to be a strong part of a society that encourages us to have empathy for each other and provides the infrastructure (roads, regulated markets, law enforcement, schools, military, universal health care, etc.) that makes it possible to express the responsibility I feel to act to help those in our nation who are vulnerable and/or in need. I believe in having a strong government that uses it's power to build positive relationships with other people, organizations, and governments, especially when they disagree with us.
Here's a short blog post I wrote a while back that addresses this concern with a youtube video.
The point is this, caring takes strength and hating is a sign of weakness. The whole reason for the 9/11 attacks was the weakness of the terrorists, that's why nothing comparable has happened since. Then we succumbed to the same weakness by seeking revenge instead of justice. The neo-conservative haters who are hysterically opposed to health care are showing their weakness. The question is whether or not the majority of Americans who want to express care can muster the courage show their strength.
Here's hoping America can be strong again.