We are taught in college journalism classes and internships that the cardinal sin of this profession is to suggest any personal biases in our writing -- or our lives. We are inundated with lectures on media ethics that tell us not to donate to political campaigns, not to affiliate with social protests or even nonprofit organizations, and above all, to never forget the importance of opposing perspectives in our stories. The idea being that everything we've sacrificed pays off when our work is published and the greater population becomes "informed" or "enlightened." We're society's martyrs, and make no mistake, we love to brag about the integrity of our chosen profession.
But sometimes, despite my unwavering enthusiasm for the principles of journalism, I get tired of making sacrifices. Recent political happenings and Supreme Court decisions have inspired visceral reactions in me that I can only express in the comfort of my apartment or Facebook -- and that's only because I operate under a different name online. But sometimes, although I am chained to the bipartisanship that is reporting, I can't help but feel the need to contribute my opinion. Which is that the impending Supreme Court's decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act had better go President Obama's way.
I've been lucky enough to take courses at Boston University regarding the sociology of health care and medical anthropology, and I have two parents who work for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Baltimore. Like many of my peers, journalists or otherwise, I have come to the realization that the United States is a prime example of how the privatization of health care can wreak social and economic havoc. Those who can afford health insurance oftentimes don't get what they should, and those who can't afford it don't get are forced to ignore their medical problems -- or foot astronomical bills. In other industrialized countries like Canada, GDP spending is significantly lower, while access to services is more widespread. In other words, they've got it right.
Our health care system is in shambles, and while some may call Obama's proposed solution a manifestation of his "socialist values," I call it an attempt to reinstate medical care as a fundamental right. As opposed to a mechanism through which greedy private insurance companies acquire millions and billions of dollars in profit at the expense of people with pre-existing conditions. Something that my father, who battled non-Hodgkin's lymphoma years ago, might have to worry about come Thursday morning.
The vast majority of people who enter the journalism field have idealistic values similar to mine, especially in relation to the idea that our government should be held responsible for its flaws and injustices. We grew up reading about Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, who brought the executive branch down on its knees, and the countless Vietnam War reporters who exposed the controversial communist conflict for what it was. The potential of a favorable AFA ruling from the Supreme Court appeals to my conception of our government, which has many responsibilities to its constituents -- above all, to keep them healthy.
Yes, we journalists have a responsibility to deliver news in a way that encourages our readers to think for themselves. But like our more vocal counterparts, we, too, succumb to our convictions. My willingness to publicize my support of the AFA may not be a savvy career move, but I welcome the backlash. Such a monumental law, especially when it has been enacted to expand Constitutional principles of health and happiness, merits support. Even from a scribe like myself.