…and the Mad Biologist attempts to give a serious answer. In response to this post about adopting a French-like healthcare system, a reader writes:
I know this may sound contradictory to many of you, but I am a staunch Republican who has always believed in the need for universal health care in our country. I am so glad that Michael Moore and all of the Democratic candidates for President in 2008 are raising the level of discussion once more about this need.
I would very much like to join a group of fellow Republicans who support the need for univeral[sic] health care, however, I have been unable to locate any such group through internet searches. If one doesn’t exist, then I would be happy to help create one! Please let me know if anyone reading this posting knows of such a group, or would like to create one.
I don’t know of any Republican groups that support universal healthcare; in fact, Republicans as a whole aren’t discussing healthcare at all, except in the sense that they hope the issue goes away. It just doesn’t seem to be an issue for Republican voters.
That brings me to a more general point. A while ago, I noted that it might be impossible to conduct a common political discourse; instead, narratives are how most people organize their political thoughts. What this commenter hit upon is that the two parties* have completely different sets of narratives: they’re not even addressing the same topics.
Think about immigration. To use crude stereotypes, the Republicans view the issue as one of preserving culture**, while Democrats view it as a labor issue (regardless of their own policy positions). Superficially, the issue is the same, immigration, but in reality, these are two completely differently topics. I’m not sure how one bridges these narrative gaps, or if one even can bridge these gaps.
In an uncharacteristic bout of optimism, I’m not sure we even want to do so: we can’t begin to solve problems until we agree (or most of us anyway) what the problems are.
*I’m using party as a crude proxy for ideology ‘cuz I’m tired and it’s my blog, not a policy paper.
**When it’s not just outright racism.