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A note on populism and civility

For more than 30 years I’ve been an active consumer advocate for health care reform. My message has been the same over the years. We are on an unsustainable path that is increasingly hurting ordinary Americans. The solutions are available but we lack the leadership to implement them. Over my career I’ve helped more than 50,000 people in all walks of life solve health care related financial problems. I’ve worked with the BBB, NFIB, state and federal government and many industry associations. Industry groups and Congressmen asked me to present the concerns of small businesses through testimony and written briefs to Congress. I’ve given countless interviews and appeared on TV or radio shows. Never once in all those years did anyone ask me “What are your political beliefs?” when considering the value of my service. Yet when I spoke up on topics related to national health care policy during the Obama years, I was criticized by the Democrats. When I spoke up under the Bush or Trump years I was criticized by Republicans. Despite this unavoidable trend, things are very much different now in 2017, The level of incivility, ignorance of fact and lack of respect has grown exponentially this current year.

Nothing in our past compares with the mental block that we face now as a society in attempting to improve our current situation. The unproductive name calling, insults and closed mindedness significantly deters our ability to help ourselves improve our current conditions.

I can only respond to the negative expressions with civility, a respect for people and fact, and an open mind. Yet I fear that this mild-mannered approach is just ineffective in the face of so much anger, hate, ignorance and bigotry.

It’s just scary to think about where this populist behavior is taking us.

 

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