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Opinion

Americans should adapt to reform

Kirsten Blake

November 19, 2009

To say that our country’s government system is the best in the world is arrogant, yet is interpreted among some as patriotic.

Being patriotic doesn’t mean standing behind your president or supporting your government blindly. Real patriotism is supporting your country by being critical of our president, questioning, urging and changing our government in order to make our country better. Admitting that our country isn’t perfect, that it has made poor decisions in the past and is still making mistakes requires a certain amount of humility that is a part of patriotism.

Many current government policies are terrible, don’t work and need significant improvement. Some federal officials are corrupt. Many are bought off. But we’re working on making improvements, aren’t we?

America is about evolving, changing and implementing practices that work, throwing out the ones that don’t—and it always has been. America has had the opportunity to observe other countries’ systems of government and adapt parts of those systems we feel would work the best for us. Patriotism is being proud of this accumulation of ideas and makes us American.

A lot has been said about health care reform in the news and a lot of bickering has ensued over it.

The reason I bring up the health care bill is because I have heard that many citizens fear this bill is too socialist for America.

I will not voice my opinion on the proposed health care bill because health care isn’t my point. I also feel I don’t know enough about the bill to sway others. I encourage others, before they decide how they feel or try to argue with their peers, to actually read the details of the proposed bill.

I particularly hope you avoid others’ opinions about it that have been written everywhere in blogs and newspapers. These reactions are often not thought through, are uneducated, and often lead to misunderstandings or misinterpretations.

Looking beyond the bill, what’s so wrong with incorporating a few little ideas from socialism? It works for some people. The point of trial and error, learning about our history and other countries is to observe processes that have worked elsewhere and that could maybe work for us.

We already have socialist practices in place in the United States. For example: Medicare. Medicare is a social insurance program provided to us by the United States government. Nixon (among others) opposed it back in 1961, but it turned out to be a very popular program that I feel has been quite successful.

As much as some politicians will have you believe, we aren’t just going to wake up one day and magically have turned into a communist country. Because we instate some policies that are unfamiliar to us or try something that we haven’t tried before doesn’t mean that we will slide down a slippery slope into some kind of an un-free, captive nation.

Perhaps a government that is a little more socialist would be good for us.  Maybe our strictly capitalist system is too inflexible. To be strictly one thing or another, black or white, is denying that there are places in the middle. There are gray areas, and those areas need to be addressed.

We ask other countries to turn their whole government systems upside down to become democracies overnight, so why are we so stuck on traditional practices whether or not they are working?

To stick to traditional American practices or ways of thinking for the sake of remaining true to what this country was founded on is close-minded and hinders our development.

America is an accumulation of all the different pieces of the world. Socialism has been one of those pieces in the past and can continue to be one in the future.

Kirsten Blake is an alumna of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.