America is complicated. Our founding federal and state constitutional documents are brilliantly written and aspirational. They call us to our highest and most noble virtues. They speak of freedom, faith, justice, opportunity, fairness, and fellowship, among other things. However, while enjoyed by many Americans, many still struggle to grasp or keep the promises of those inspiring documents.
Our complicated history has caused Americans to establish norms, values, resource distribution channels, religion, education, political institutions, and social hierarchies to benefit others at the expense of others. The interactive nature of these things ebbs and flows throughout history, disproportionately favoring some at the expense of others. These same influences are shaped influenced by war, religious revival, protest movements, economic realities, and pandemics, to name a few.
As our nation and states grappled with COVID-19 during the initial months, we saw that complex history reveal itself. First, it revealed itself as the poor and most vulnerable got sick and died disproportionately. Then, when the discussion raged between individual choices, genetic predispositions, structural racism, poverty, and limited access to health care, we saw it. And also, history revealed itself through clinical research challenges, vaccine distribution problems, vaccine hesitancy, and trust issues.
What do we do at this critical moment in our nation? How do we make good on the promises contained within those idyllic constitutional documents preserved within our federal and state legislatures?
I believe health care can be the unifying glue that brings our nation’s complexity together. We all get sick. We all want to be cared for when we become ill. And we are all going to die. A person’s race, ethnicity, education, money, where they live, political affiliation, or faith tradition they believe in or don’t believe in cannot save them from these inevitabilities.
The solutions exist within the problem, our complexity. First, however, we must be honest. In doing so, we must insist on opportunities for all with partialities shown to none. Next, we must seek justice, freedom, and equity, seek to adopt new knowledge and beliefs, and develop compassion for those sick and hurting in our nation. These are the same aspirations found in our founding documents. Finally, we need to summon the courage as a nation to be what we say.
“We have all we need to do what is required. The question is, will we? Will we continue to be entangled in the complexity of our own making? Will we continue to allow untold millions to die prematurely and live beneath the rights and privileges enshrined in our nation’s and state’s most sacred documents? Or will we humble ourselves and then find grace, mercy, and favor in our land?”
– Dr. Monteic A. Sizer
ABOUT TRANSFORMATIONS BLOG: Transformations is a blog by Dr. Monteic A. Sizer, Northeast Delta Human Services Authority’s executive director. The blog aims to challenge, encourage, and inspire Louisiana citizens and the nation, to think and act differently and pursue the world we seek, rather than the world we have. Dr. Sizer believes citizens and government can work together as creative catalysts to help transform broken people, families, communities, and social systems.
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