A few weeks ago I received an email written by members of the Republican Party that was forwarded on to me. The email discussed some of the current political issues, and in particular Obama Care. In discussing their opposition to the Affordable Care Act, the general sentiment was that we are all created equal and all have the same chances in life to succeed. Why is Obama Care necessary to even the playing field? Why should the rich have to pay more in taxes in order to subsidize health plans for the poor or low income?
This belief that everyone is created equal and that we all have the same chance to succeed in life is fundamentally flawed. The truth is that we are not all created equal in our ability to achieve success. Every person has a unique set of strengths, which can aid in achieving the success they desire. Conversely, each person also has their own unique set of challenges that inhibit them in achieving such success. We are meant to share our strengths with those close to us and resolve the challenges we face together.
The United States is the most powerful nation in the world but it spends less on helping the poor than most other western nations. Increasingly more people take on the attitude, “Why should they get help when I never did? I turned out fine.” But that belief is not true. If you “turned out fine,” then you did receive help along the way whether it is from family, teachers, or friends and it was this help that contributed to where you are today. Not everyone is lucky enough to grow up in a nurturing environment and it is these people that we should try and provide support to.
If a child is born disabled or grows up in a poor, abusive, or criminal home, they do not have the same chance at success as a child born healthy, to a high-income, loving family that lives in a nice neighborhood. The former will start school approximately 1.5 years behind other students and by 3rd grade they will be three years behind his peers educationally. These are the facts. In this situation most children will never be able to catch-up and this will subsequently affect the rest of their lives.
Lending a helping hand because you were born with some advantages that others may not have can make this world a better place for all of us. It will enable us to learn lessons from the strengths others gained from struggling through challenges they faced. It can reduce violent crime and create a better and safer environment for future generations to grow up in.
We all have different views and opinions and everyone is free to express these views as they wish. In this country the right to free speech is one of our most important principles. If you travel around the world, you will see that other countries do not have advantages equal to those of the United States in respect to individual freedoms and standard of living. In Israel, armed guards stand at shopping mall entrances searching bags as shoppers enter. In China, you see children begging for food on the street. In war torn regions like Syria, you see millions displaced by the violence that has taken hold as a result of people fighting for the very freedoms we all take for granted.
My viewpoint is simple: As one of the worlds most powerful and wealthiest countries, we can afford to help those less fortunate. So we should. If we truly want everyone to have an equal chance at success in life, then we need to extend a helping hand to those who need it right now. This is not limited to strictly financial support. Providing love, care, guidance, and mentoring are vital aspects missing from the lives of many. Anyone is capable of providing these support functions and we can all play a role. This is not about being Republican, Democrat, black, white, Christian, or Muslim—this is simply about being human.
Written by: Dr Kathy Seifert, Edited by Luke Keenan, MA
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–Dr. Kathy Seifert