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A new Civil War

April 22, 2011
by Terry L. Stawar, Ed.D.
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Monica E. Oss the CEO at Open Minds recently commented on the controversial Ryan Budget plan’s implications for Medicaid. She noted with some irony, that as we face the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, there's still a lively debate over states rights. She suggests that the conflict between the relative federal and state responsibilities for healthcare is a fundamental issue that even underlies the current Medicaid debate. 

I thought this was an important insight . However, I had just finished reading David Von Drehle’s April 7, 2011 article in Time Magazine regarding the real causes of the Civil War. He quotes historian David Blight from Yale, who writes, "No matter what we do or the overwhelming consensus among historians, out in the public mind, there is still this need to deny that slavery was the cause of the war." Instead of confronting the ugly truth regarding the desire to continue exploitation of our fellow men, we retreat into lofty political/philosophical debates. We would like to think state's right was the cause and indeed that was what I was taught in the 1960's and 1970's.

I believe the current national conversation over the Ryan plan mimics the Civil War in a more essential way. The fundamental question is whether we choose to be our “brother's keeper” or our “brother’s owner”? What obligation do those in power have towards those less powerful? It's a real choice regarding whether the moral compass of Abraham Lincoln or Ann Rand will lead healthcare, as well as our society over the next 150 years.



One more comment. Any Rand was a sexually obsessed White Russian who loved her men big, tough and unsentimental, I.e. cruel. Now if that doesn't
describe the delusional self- portrait of a modern neo-conservative ... !

The Civil War goes on in this country ... On and on and on. Ironically, the Republican Party is waging that war, ironically, from a Southern or racist perspective, a consequence and legacy of their Nixonian "Southern Strategy."Just google Kevin Philips, who thought it up. And while you're at, Michael Steele, the deposed chairman of the GOP love that acronym who admitted as much last year.

Excellent insight, Terry. I had seen Monica's thought-provoking column, too, and I really like what you have added to the debate.

Terry Stawar

President/CEO (LifeSpring, Inc.)

Terry Stawar



Terry L. Stawar, EdD, is President and CEO of LifeSpring Health Systems, a community behavioral...

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