What’s fair?

Like most of us, this past election cycle and the pending demolition of the ACA have sent my mind spinning in any number of directions. Separating the personalities from the topics hasn’t been easy these past few years. However, removing tweets and the drama, it seems to me that most topics including healthcare come down to the question: “What’s fair?” Being a moderate midlander, today I’m bombarded by petitions and emails from both sides doing battle, all generally in the name of fair.

Should women be paid as much as men… even though they’re blessed with menstruation, pregnancy and the miracle (to men) of birth? How fair is inheritance? Should wealthy families, with a few working and the rest skimming, be able to vacuum up wealth to infinity? Should society try to help poor people to stay alive who may skim just the same? How about skimmers who are destructive as well? Should fetuses have a say? And when? Should all Muslims pay for the aggressions of “Alt-Muslims”? Which lives matter most? Should armed individuals who may not feel particularly safe in their communities disarm a bit to help the unarmed feel safer? Should someone born this side of a border have more rights than someone born on that side? Should people alive today be forced to emit a little less CO2 for the sake of future lifeforms? How sacred are sacred lands? Should taxi drivers resent Uber drivers?

In healthcare, should healthy people cover the tab for those who were born into pain? How about for those who chase pain like smokers or Red Bull stuntmen? How about for meth users? Or immigrants? Or refugees overseas?

Choosing a party fast tracks all these conversations. But since I still struggle with these and thousands of other questions, I guess I’ll continue along as a confused independent. Truth is, I wish I could vote for an “inventors” party that spent its time on creative solutions rather than contentious legislation. (No legislation was needed to deal with horse poop after the car arrived.)

When I think of my boy Max, I just don’t see why he gets to be so lucky for popping into existence in this one particular spot in the universe, when a kid in Aleppo can draw such a shorter straw. I’m happy for Max, but it’s simply not fair. Personally, I just don’t think God, Allah or any benevolent committee of creators included fair in their equations. It isn’t part of the design and chasing it in all things is a path to misery. To me we’re billiards and some of us simply get bounced around harder than others. Damage control and a little kindness is all we can hope for.

So with limited time on this rock, I want to chase paths that leave a generally better place. For me, waging verbal wars on social media doesn’t. I prefer the “raise all boats” metaphor. Tree planters do that. Good comedians too. Violin makers. The SLO Makerspace, the Hot House, iFixit, FarmBot.io, Code Club SLO, some doctors too…

Back in the day, I thought of ENDORPHIN POWER COMPANY as a win, win, win for ERs, addicts and the general public, though it was never an easy sell. I’d like to think Pre-R is diffusely helpful too. Hopefully we’ll keep growing to help take the edge off for people in San Luis Obispo. But if some version of our Anxiometer could be translated into Arabic for folks in Aleppo some day, wouldn’t that be neat? (And if you happen to be there today with a telemedicine consult and translator, just give us a holler.)

President Obama tried to push the US medical system toward “fair.” But many would argue that the the ACA swung past its mark. Starting now, a new team will try to redirect the healthcare pendulum toward fair once again. The Russians have left Afghanistan. Let’s see what the Americans can do. Batter up Mr. Trump. Godspeed.

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