The Florida Health Care Summit is about building bridges. First, we are about building a bridge to the future.
A great sea of change lies all around us. We have seen a great deal of change in the past 35 years that has taken us back to a time closer to the Gilded Age than to the Progressive Era. We moved from a well-regulated economy that provided opportunity for anyone who was willing to work hard to enter the middle class to a society that worships wealth at the expense of middle-class opportunity. We have moved from a time when media news departments were able to exercise independent journalistic excellence and integrity to the most shameful period of media abuse in a generation or two. We’re talking about fake news here, of course. Before a pseudo-conservative movement fomented an anti-government sentiment among the well-meaning, but unenlightened beneficiaries of white privilege, government served the people, all the people. In the name of profits, mostly accruing to the 1% who already have more than they need, we have dismantled the international tariff system that protected local jobs from libertine corporations that exploit the difference between the living standards of under-developed nations and the higher standards we have built in America.
We have also seen some change that has benefited society in general. Many minorities in America have seen more rights and protections recognized by our societal institutions. Technological advances have made it easier to meet the physical needs of an industrial society and the basic needs of the people who make up this society. The internet has made it easier for people to understand and express their ideas, desires, and demands to one another and to our communities large and small. Advances in medicine have prolonged life and enhanced our quality of life as we age.
Much of the change, both bad and good has been planned. Folks 35 to 50 years ago looked at the world they lived in and decided to build bridges to the future based on their personal and collective visions. One such community, led by folks like Robert W. Welch, Jr. (John Birch Society), Fred Koch (John Birch Society), Paul Weirich (Heritage Foundation), Joseph Coors (Heritage Foundation), Frank Chodorov (Intercollegiate Studies Institute), William F. Buckley (Intercollegiate Studies Institute and The National Review), Charles Koch (CATO Institute and ALEC), believed in a vision they called Conservatism characterized by six fundamental tenants. These 6 tenants, outlined in Dr. Russel Kirk’s book, The Conservative Mind, are:
- A divine intent, as well as personal conscience, rules society;
- Traditional life is filled with variety and mystery while most radical systems are characterized by a narrowing uniformity;
- Civilized society requires orders and classes;
- Property and freedom are inseparably connected;
- Man must control his will and his appetite, knowing that he is governed more by emotion than by reason; and
- Society must alter slowly.
Some of the Conservative ideals appear to be virtues that we should all aspire to, e.g., property and freedom, a life filled with variety and mystery, civilized society, self-control, and divine intent. However, a thoughtful examination of this collection of “virtues” suggests a more sinister tendency toward selfishness and lack of compassion and respect for others. It is this darker side of conservativism that has led to many of society’s ills that we suffer today. This Conservative movement successfully built a bridge to their vision of the future.
In other words, we live in a very dynamic world that is constantly changing and not always for the better. The Florida Health Care Summit is about building a bridge to the future that respects not only traditional lives but respects non-traditional ones as well. We are exploring paths to a future that bring us together in a common sense of purpose to improve our collective welfare.
We would like to discourage the selfishness that fosters in some the need to blame others who fall behind because of the greed of a libertine few. Our vision is one of extending the middle-class opportunity that we enjoyed in the mid-twentieth century, not on continuing to favor the wealthy at the expense of everyone else. We believe that access to health care is a human right and are building a bridge to a near-term future that recognizes and ensures that this human right is not abridged. We are inviting you to join us to help us build that bridge to the future.
In addition to this bridge to the future, we are building bridges between communities. We respect the interests of Feminists, the LGBTQ community, Medical Professionals, Progressives, Labor, Small Business, Veterans, Public Employees, and others. All of our communities share an interest in universal access to health care and the principle that health care is a human right. The Florida Health Care Summit is designed to build bridges between and among these communities to enable us to work together to forge a path to the future that guarantees every person in the state of Florida the access to the highest quality of health care that our medical community is capable of providing. We invite you to help us build this bridge to your community so that you can join us as we develop a Road Map to Health Care By 2020.