Friday, July 4, 2014

A Question of Patriotism


Do I lose points, especially this time of year, if I admit that I don’t really consider myself overly patriotic?  I mean, of course I love my country, and there’s truly no place that I would rather live.  I think we’ve done a lot of things right over the years, and I’ll light a sparkler or two tomorrow night in celebration.  But I don’t fly a flag outside my house, I’m glad my son never wanted to join the military so I never had to worry I’d lose him to some crazy war, and for all the things we’ve done right, I still think there are an awful lot of things we have done—and continue to do—wrong.  Does that make me unpatriotic?  Maybe.  So while I’m making the confession, let me just pile on one other thing:  the Supreme Court is really pissing me off lately.

As I have mentioned in the past, I’m not only potentially unpatriotic, but I’m definitely mostly non-political.  But still . . . To my very core, I reject the idea that organizations can be granted personhood in any way, so the idea they can be allowed to exercise religious freedom is truly unfathomable to me.  And I say this as an Oklahoma (almost) native, so it’s almost impossible for me to escape the arguments in support of Hobby Lobby being allowed to opt out of the full requirements of “Obamacare” on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs.  I’ve heard them all.  But you are never going to convince me that an employer’s religious beliefs should trump an employee’s right to health care coverage that’s right for her.  (Or him, though in this particular case, it’s really only the “hers” that are getting the short end of the stick.")

And, listen, when it comes down to the particulars, I get that Hobby Lobby is really only objecting to less than a handful of contraceptive techniques.  And I really don’t even doubt the religious beliefs of the owners are sincerely held.  I just think the owners should confer with their health care providers and discuss available options before continuing forward with any necessary treatment for themselves, and I think that they shouldn’t exclude treatment from others because of their own religious views.  And, don’t kid yourself, it really doesn’t matter that the Court tried to “protect” women by saying that they could pursue other options for getting these particular treatments, even if the government has to pick up the tab.  First of all, maybe my religious beliefs prohibit that sort of thing.  Secondly, people without insurance forgo important medical treatment regularly, even if they might have some sort of “free” treatment option, just because they don’t want to ask for help.   There is no doubt in my mind that this ruling will prevent at least some women from receiving needed medical treatment, and I think that’s a shame. 

As far as I’m concerned, it boils down to this:  companies are not people, and I don’t believe they should have equal rights to people, much less superior rights.  And I can’t believe that our founding fathers ever intended that a business entity should be viewed as a citizen with full rights and privileges.  I could probably go on, but I’m not really here to try and convince anyone, just venting a little bit about a recent mistake by this great nation.  And, now that I think about it, maybe caring enough to be upset when I see us stumble, but still believing that there is nowhere greater to call home, makes me absolutely patriotic.  I’ll be thinking about that tomorrow when I light my sparkler.