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Anthony D'Ambrosio Headshot

The Human Element

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Through political matters and agendas, especially in our Western world, we are able to rise to positions of immense power. Moreover, there is absolutely no doubt that some of us are versed and practiced in the ways of manipulating the masses through the game that many call politics. Despite this, we often forget to include the human element in our political considerations, causing matters to seem far too elementary and straightforward. Whether we eventually realize it or not, we all do this. Several months ago, I realized that I had not recognized the human element of an important issue in the political stratosphere -- an issue that turned out to be far more important in the context of my life than I could have ever imagined.

Personally, I never associate with a specific political party. Too often, I am annoyed and frustrated when hearing teenagers profess their allegiance to any one caucus. I often think, "What do we know? What have we even done in our lives?" However, this is not to say that I do not hold strong opinions relating to the important matters that are battled over within our government. For example, several months ago, when the brawl over Obama Care had reached its zenith, I could honestly say that I disapproved of the bill. While there is no need to explore the depths of my former distasteful regard for the concept, I admit that I only took the time to consider the potential negative affects that it may have on our country. I never fully realized the immense benefits that the proposed bill would provide millions of people. Of course, that was until the diagnosis.

My youngest sister has always had health issues. For the past couple of years, nights where we rushed her to the hospital in a frantic panic have been a reality for us. It seemed as if there was always something wrong with her body -- from swollen legs to potentially fractured vertebrae, her poor soul was never at peace. Eventually, however, the doctors realized that these ailments were more than mere coincidences. In the winter of 2011, she was diagnosed with a virtually unknown genetic disorder that will plague her for the rest of her life. She is one of only a handful of humans known to harbor the disorder. There is no single effective treatment in existence.

Immediately following the diagnosis, and after further research, the lives of the members of my family were shredded to pieces. We had no idea what to expect, and, to put it simply, could not bear the pain of imagining what my sister might endure in future years. In a way, I had a new outlook on life -- everything changed, including my view on the bill that I once disliked in such a profound sense.

Quickly, I realized how foolish I once was. I had never even imagined how significantly the bill could positively alter someone's life. It took the worry of my sister being dropped from our insurance plan to reshape my opinion. Moreover, it took the legitimate fear of her potential inability to pay her future medical bills, which would have undoubtedly created a critically dangerous situation, to change my mind. It should have never gotten to that point -- that should not have been the trigger that made me reconsider my stance.

Though I was forced to by way of extreme circumstance, I was finally able to recognize the human element that seemed so unfamiliar and unimportant before. Prior to that point, in my mind, Obama Care was simply a disorganized bill that would raise taxes and further bankrupt our country. But I was ignorant in my thinking. As a result, I was not able to fully understand the proposed bill -- only understanding the "black and white" parts is similar to only reading half of the proposed legislation.

Since then, I have rarely glossed over political matters with such carelessness. I always try to understand the profound affects that a bill may have on a person's life. Moreover, I try to imagine that the person affected is a member of my family. The human element is something that should be associated with all of our political evaluations.

In the end, my plea is not that anyone change their political stance on a highly controversial issue, but, rather, that they take the time to truly consider the actual human beings affected by a possible solution. If we each looked beyond liberal vs. conservative, red state vs. blue state, and Democrat vs. Republican and recognized this element, there is no doubt that we would all have a better understanding of both the proposed legislation and what it means to be human. Please do not make my mistake; do not let fate make you realize that you had not recognized the human element.