Letters: Health care, the media



Knoxville

Published 6:00 a.m. ET July 17, 2017 | Updated 6:00 a.m. ET July 17, 2017

Bill writers not representing everyone

In my eighth-grade civics class nearly 55 years ago, I remember learning that, once elected, representatives and senators represent all the people in their district or state, regardless of political affiliation. We even had mock debates to test how one side would step up and represent the other if they happen to be elected. I wonder if this was the way government used to be or if it was just a classroom game to involve the students in an American fantasy, because America certainly doesn’t operate that way today.

Is it any wonder that a health care bill affecting nearly 100 percent of the population (senators and representatives past and present excluded), written by a small political elite from one party behind closed doors, would be a non-starter? Where do collaboration or consensus come into play, and how are all Americans represented in the discussion and as participants in the outcome?  

Americans want a healthcare system that works, meaning it’s fair and equitable, accessible, affordable, efficient and ensures health and wellness, regardless of if the law is authored by Republicans or Democrats. Our country needs a health care system that is ready, willing and able to serve people who need it, not grudgingly controlled and meted out by those who have no stake in the process or outcome. Success isn’t simply repealing a law with another political party’s name on it; success is promulgating a law that makes health care a little better for every American. History shows that America works best when it works together.

Congress would do well to begin and end the health care debate like my old civics class of bygone years, with both sides at the table representing everyone back home. Or is civics — and civility — a thing of the past?

Michael Beckley, Knoxville

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Media indoctrinate instead of inform

We are very polarized today. Why? 

I see two people commit the same crime. One goes to prison and one becomes a folk hero or gets elected. To quote Malcolm X on the media, “They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent.” According to Gallup polls, 72 percent of Americans trusted the media in 1976, but in 2016 the trust level was 32 percent. Today what I hear or read is often nothing like the reality I actually see. 

Today we are consumed with being politically correct, which has a history going back to World War I. It means the narrative is shaped to promote a specific political agenda.

When I switch channels while watching the news, I have mixed feelings about how different the coverage is from channel to channel. When I tune in to the BBC in Britain, it is again different. I listen critically to all of them. Who is using subjective language and who is using objective language? Who is addressing empirical events and who is merely dropping innuendos? Do journalists identify their source or is this just another opinion? Some actually spiel out hatred, and that is repugnant. Do you know anything about the journalist? Have you seen a history of being one-sided? Even Harvard University sees the media trending in one direction. I often put the TV on mute and just watch the video. Then I decide for myself. Malcolm X was right. 

So, are we educated or indoctrinated? Perhaps we all suffer from Stockholm Syndrome. 

 Wes Hibbert, Loudon

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