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"Socialism" Debated

I have been very saddened by a number of recent letters to the editor of this publication that vilify President Obama and Democratic Congressional leaders for attempting to enact health care reform legislation. These letters contain serious factual distortions and raise the histrionic, dreaded specter of "Socialism" as a rationale for defeating a historic expansion of health care coverage.
What most depresses me about these letters is the sheer lack of humanity and concern for the legions of our fellow citizens who lack decent health care. Even with the distasteful compromises implemented to ensure passage of health care reform, thirty million more Americans will have health insurance if the bill is enacted into law. Health care for all Americans has been a laudable goal of the leaders of this nation since it was initially proposed by Republican President Theodore Roosevelt more than one hundred years ago.
Our neighborhoods are dotted with churches and synagogues. On the weekends when I coach in-town basketball, I see scores of children attending CCD classes and Jewish Sunday School.
If the values being taught in these schools and houses of worship are to have any substance, any meaning to our children, we have to listen to "the better angels of our nature," as Lincoln said, and fight to have affordable health care for as many of friends, neighbors and fellow countrymen as possible.
It is easy to demonize the federal government by implying that there are dark motives associated with the drive for health care legislation.
Without doubt, any government, including our federal government, is imperfect.
Yet our federal government has also been one of the greatest sources of good in the twentieth century, spearheading the defeat of fascism, communism, economic deprivation during the Great Depression and racial discrim-ination. The adoption of a health care reform law in 2010, with the promise of additional reforms and extended coverage in the years to come, will represent another landmark work of positive government.
Steve Katz
East Longmeadow