I never thought it would come to this.
I’ve spent a year writing columns for this college media organization, and I never thought I would cross this line.
But when the federal government, both major political parties and Fox News won’t stop making a fuss over it, I have to chime in with my two cents.
The issue? Contraceptives.
The discussion started when the Obama administration announced it would require employers like Catholic charities and hospitals to cover contraception in their health care plans, even if the religion opposed its use. A quick and forceful objection from some Catholics as well as evangelical Protestants rapidly amplified the conversation to a political brawl between conservatives and liberals of all religious stripes.
After about a week of back-and-forth bickering, the administration put forth a compromise plan that allows employees access to contraceptives though the insurance companies, but it would have them work directly with the insurers that would foot the bill. At this point, the Catholic archdioceses – as well as the remaining GOP candidates – will not accept any compromise until they have full leeway to keep religiously affiliated organizations from being associated with birth control.
The answer, one I surely don’t know specifically, has to be somewhere in the middle. Religious groups must fall under some level of First Amendment protection, but individuals who work for these organizations but do not practice the same faith should not be deprived of coverage for their health care needs.
Unfortunately, the culture war mentality that continues in this country has kept—and will likely continue to keep—any reasonable compromise from happening.
Whether debating abortion, gay marriage, gun control or contraception policies, portions of the American people never seem to stop raising these longtime hot-button issues.
These so-called debates, which come and go, still plant seeds of polarization and absolute, all-or-nothing politics so present in American rhetoric today.
People are going to disagree on these issues–that’s a given. But with so many Americans unemployed or underemployed, and with tax, budget and entitlement systems that quickly need major overhauls, shouldn’t American politicians focus more on issues that will affect Americans day to day now and in the future?
Wouldn’t it benefit Americans if their government worked to put itself on stable economic ground and not squabble so furiously over a health care policy that already exists in 20 states?
The American people deserve more of their government, whether in the executive, legislative, or even judicial branches. Maybe if elected officials actually got their act together, the federal government could accomplish what it actually needs to do to make this country better tomorrow than what it is today.
Maybe to do that, the American people and those who represent them can find more pressing issues to address than contraception.
Vision editor Brian Wilson is a junior journalism major.