To a Young Nurse in Florida, President Obama is “a Nitwit”

I didn’t write a blog yesterday because Sandra made me go to the foot doctor in the morning and I had an afternoon tee time. I am a 75-year-old diabetic with arthritis so my feet hurt. But my wife would not accept this simple explanation. She insisted on hearing it from a podiatrist, who prescribed two pain-killing creams, one of which was not covered by my health insurance and cost $169. She even picked up the prescriptions for me. I thanked her and immediately returned the $169 pain killer. My feet don’t hurt that much!

But enough about my feet. The visit to the podiatrist was interesting only because of his nurse. She was a pleasant young woman with a warm smile. So I was taken aback by her vehement disapproval of America’s new President. When I jokingly quoted him about something – I forget what it was – her ears got red.

“Obama is a nitwit.” she said.

Now, “nitwit” is perhaps the last word I would use to describe the President. He seems extremely intelligent to me.

“He is taking the country down the wrong road,” the young nurse elaborated. What wrong road? Why, socialism, of course – socialized medicine to be precise. She cited Canada to show where such folly can lead. Canadians have to wait months for health care, she assured me, and some of them even come to America to have hip replacements because of the long waiting list in Canada.

healthSandra defended Canadian health care, pointing out that our relatives in Ontario have no complaints, while I tried to enlighten the young Florida nurse about the American President’s health care proposals (as I understand them). I said that the President isn’t trying to copy Canada, that he is trying to devise a system to cover the 46 million uninsured Americans while accommodating the interests of various health care stakeholders. His first move was to invite several large trade groups, such as the American Medical Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the American Hospital Association, to discuss ways to wring cost savings from the health system. And he is planning to include these groups in future health care discussions.

That’s the way President Obama operates. He would never impose a plan – however brilliant – on the health care industry. Instead, he will try to hammer out an acceptable compromise that protects health care stakeholders, their shareholders and their employees while extending coverage to the uninsured. Personally, I find that approach frustrating; I would much prefer a government run health care system (like the one in Canada). But I have to acknowledge it’s probably the only way the President can get a plan through Congress, given the influence insurance companies and health care profiteers have bought in Washington.

The young nurse listened politely but I don’t think we changed her mind. As she explained, she voted Republican in November because she has “always been a Republican.” And today’s Republicans are amazingly resistant to reason. With demagogues like talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh fueling their emotions at the expense of their intellect, they seem to be losing the ability to think for themselves. And I doubt they are likely to become more reasonable any time soon.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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