It’s not a Right unless you fight for it

This is actually a delayed publish to give me time to finish my “bathtub” story, but the thought has been percolating for a couple days now, and now I finally understand something, and wanted to commit it to the keyboard before I lose the train of thought: just suffering does not turn something you want (or need) into a right. “What in the hell prompted this line of thought?” you are probably asking. I saw a little boy on CNN giving a “brave speech” to someone (I think Congress) about the suffering his mother went through because she didn’t have health insurance, and he stated “Health care isn’t a privilege, it’s a right.”

Look kid, I’m sorry that you had to go through that. I recently lost a great Uncle to lung cancer, and when I was little, my grandfather died of cancer. I know how much sickness sucks, and how expensive medicine can be, but health care is not a “right,” and probably won’t be for a while yet, even if Obama and the Democrats get their way and pass the health care reform bill. So how can I say that? How can I be so callous as to condemn millions of Americans to be sick with little hope for getting proper medical care? How can I deny the “right” to good health to people so casually? Because suffering doesn’t equal “rights.” If suffering equaled rights, the majority of the human race since time began would have the right for health care.

Still not getting what I mean? Let’s go back one hundred and fifty years to the American Civil War, a conflict that eventually centered around the institution of slavery. So, if suffering was going to be enough to give people rights, then why weren’t the blacks considered free? Why did it take 720,000 deaths to give them freedom? And why weren’t they considered equals after that? Hadn’t they suffered enough under the bonds of slavery to earn that right? No, suffering did not equal equality. It took another one hundred years, and it took one hell of a fight to get that equality, a fight that is still going on, and probably will continue on for a long time.

So, you can say health care is a right all you want, but unless you put up a fight for it, unless you can convince your fellow Americans that it is a right, unless you can figure out how to pay for it (and this is actually very important, because nothing in life is free,) you can make all of the speeches in the world, but your “right” is nothing but words in the wind, to be carried off into the graveyard of ideas.

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