The Ignorant Among Us

No wonder the debate on health care reform is not going so well.

Not only do we have the right-wing forces and special interests lobbyists blasting the reform efforts with lies and conspiracy theories, we also have progressives spewing nonsense.

Congresswoman Diane E. Watson, (D) California
Congresswoman Diane E. Watson, (D) California

Exhibit A — Rep. Diane E. Watson (D) California’s 33rd Congressional District. She must be one of the few people left in America that still defends Castro and Guevara. And her praising of the Cuban health care system I find completely baffling coming from someone that seems intelligent and well informed. I guess not that well well-informed. Sounds like she believed what Castro told her on her recent guided-tour of Havana.

Dear Congresswoman:

There are two classes in Cuba, just like in any dictatorship: those that are in power — and are willing to do anything to keep said power — and the rest of the population. The power elite in Cuba has access, privileges and benefits that are denied the average citizen. Those benefits include travel, consumer goods and better health care. It is well documented that foreigners receive care — many in fact travel to Cuba for this specific purpose — that is not available to the locals. Everyone knows — or should know if they just read the mainstream media — that Cuban nationals were even forbidden from vacationing at popular Cuban resorts that were reserved for foreigners paying with dollars.

I was hospitalized while traveling in Cuba a number of years ago. Because of my tourist visa, I was admitted to the clean and spacious Party Wing (as in Communist) where most of the beds were empty — come to think of it, they were all empty, except for mine and a provincial Part big-wig a few bed down from me — and the staff was very attentive to my needs. My Cuban citizen relative, who was admitted the same day to the same hospital, was not so lucky. She ended up in a room the size of a generous walk-in closet that she had to share with three other beneficiaries of the Cuban system.

The Congresswoman’s unfortunate commentary reminded me of an argument I had once with a young self-admitted pro-Communist Cuba fellow. This happened at a mutual friend’s party in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We were making our pro and con cases, each with a lot of conviction and with enough facts to support our own side. The guy not only was defending Castro but he was trashing the U.S. of A. at the same time. It then occurred to me that I had something he lacked and I was convinced that it gave me an advantage.

“Have you ever lived in Cuba?” I asked.

“No. Never.” He replied.

“Well, I’ve lived there and I have lived here. I have experienced both places and have first hand knowledge of both systems. Until you live there for a while, we really should not argue anymore.”

He wasn’t convinced and wanted to continue with the argument. But for me, after I realized that I had the facts on my side, the need to win left me.

This is the same reason why I try not to get into arguments with people about places or customs that I know very little about. I won’t be able to contribute much to the cause and I might say something completely asinine.

So I’m saying, with all the respect due here, Congresswoman Watson, unless you have your facts straight, please keep quiet. YOU’RE NOT HELPING!

The argument on health care is much more important than one between two college students trying to impress their dates. We need well-informed participants that would counter the baseless, ill-intentioned lies being told by those in favor of the status quo. We need passionate, clear thinkers that can articulate the financial benefits and the moral component of this cause. We need someone to talk about the American approach to solve this immense problem. We want someone to stand up for those that are getting crushed by a health care system that works only for those with the financial ability to purchase coverage.

We need a champion, not a demagogue. A leader, not a bumbler to get this done.

President Obama, we’re looking to you, Sir. Please talk to us about this most important of efforts. We don’t have much time.

We’re listening…

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