(Actually, I think he was talking about the system before it changes, i.e. as it already is, so his point may have been different than he meant - but I really don't think this is the moment in his life to be quibbling about politics. His agenda at the moment is way above politics).
Then there was Dennis who slammed into me last week, going so far as to call a post of mine that mentioned healthcare, a travesty.
You rightly criticize those of us here in the United States for doing not understanding the complexities of the Israel/Arab/Palestinian conflict. But you do the same thing when you say that you are agnostic on "who's right and who's wrong, who's fibbing and who's fibbing more."Don't mean to be harsh, because I read you constantly but you have this wrong.Ouch.
In between Dennis and the new father, I had a chat the other evening with a fellow who lives here but works as a physician in the States (you'd be surprised how many such extreme commuters there are). He told me that philosophically he's all for revamping the American health system, and would even be willing to take a financial hit if it would be for the general good, but in his opinion nothing being discussed right now will make things any better, and probably they'll get worse, though he expects his income to remain unaffected.
This blog is not about American health care. It's mostly about Jewish stuff, though from time to time I jump around. Yet it occurs to me that the healthcare metaphor really can be useful, precisely because it demonstrates how impossible it is for an outsider to really understand what's going on.
I have no doubt that were I was prepared to spend six solid months studying the matter I could form an educated opinion, unless I'd need 12 months, or 24. If I didn't think so I couldn't be a historian, since historians have the fundamental conceit they can understand times and places they've never been to. Yet short of dedicating oneself totally to really understanding, I'm here to report that following the media doesn't work. These folks swear by their narrative; those folks swear by the opposite one. These chaps admonish that there's an imminent danger; the other blokes shrilly warn of a whole different set of apocalyptic threats. These guys quote statistics; the other ones wave different ones. Somehow there are Nazis involved on both sides of the argument, though I haven't been able to figure that out at all.
Not to mention that the single most important part of the story is not visible through the media at all: what's it like living in the system? I don't mean, which horror stories each side trots out. I mean the regular living part of the story. What's it like right now to live in the present system, what's wrong with it, and how ought it be different. What do you do when your kid has the sniffles? When she has something worse than sniffles? When, heaven forbid, she has something radically worse than sniffles? How does it work? What decisions need to be made, by whom, under which constraints?
This type of understanding cannot be had merely by following the media. Can't.
Which brings me back, unsurprisingly, to the things I do know about, such as living in this conflict-torn land. Or being a Jew. Without wishing to be arrogant, I expect these issues are more complicated than health care in America; they've certainly been around a lot longer... Anyway, you see where I'm going with this...