Most Americans and many people everywhere have been touched by Malala Yousafzai’s ongoing courageous battle to help all children get good educations. At the young age of 16, she already knows that a good education provides opportunities that would otherwise never exist.
Most Americans support good educations. But even in America, there are those who don’t quite understand the basic results of education: We are what we learn – no more and no less.
Ultra-conservative and radical leaders want their people to embrace their beliefs – for fear they will otherwise lose control. This is most noticeable in religious sectarianism – where one sect believes they are right and therefore others are wrong. For centuries we’ve seen religious wars, including Christians in the Dark Ages sending armies into Jewish and Muslim countries to convert or kill the infidels. Such wars still rage today. Why? Because many leaders want only their beliefs taught.
The key to freedom is seeking the truth. Even questioning what is often regarded as absolute truth is a virtue, not a vice. We wouldn’t have doctors and medicines had people not questioned beliefs that evil spirits made us ill. Our democratic republic exists only because well-educated founders realized that no one knows the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. They knew that governing a nation required skillful, talented and educated leaders who were willing to share their ideas and work together to develop programs beneficial to the majority.
Currently an assault is raging over the Affordable Care Act, a form of national health care already adopted in several other countries – Canada, England, Denmark and Norway, to name a few. Their total annual health care costs average 7 percent to 9 percent per family. In America, it is currently a little over 15 percent. Yet those other countries have lower death rates than America.
The Affordable Care Act is new and untried. It will undoubtedly need tweaking over time. But it could turn out to be the best system ever devised for improving the health of most Americans. We should at least try it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
E. GENE GORRELL