Kurt  Schlichter

This week’s most important lesson does not involve the failure of Obamacare. There’s no lesson there. If you thought the government was capable of competently executing the roll-out of this abomination I have a timeshare deal you might want to buy into. The place overlooks a unicorn ranch; it’s awesome.

This week’s most important lesson does not involve the so-called government shutdown. Calling the furloughing of a few glorified DMV clerks and the closing of parks to war heroes a “shutdown” is a total fraud. Don’t tease me – I want to see welfare cheats going EBTless, D.C. pencil-pushers lining Pennsylvania Avenue with signs reading “Will regulate for food,” and performance artists spending their own money to buy the stuff they insert in their orifices to protest patriarchy.

No, this week’s most important lesson involves you, and it reaffirms what is best about the American character. Let’s go back about two weeks to when my wife and I faced the very real possibility that our little girl might die.

Some shadows on a routine x-ray for a healthy, happy kid can turn your world upside down in a heartbeat. One second you are in your office working and the next your wife is calling you from the doctor telling you she’s coming over to talk. As your wife tells you there might be a problem, you look through your window out to your kid laughing with your employees and try to reconcile what you’re hearing with that happy little girl.

On a battlefield, I can make things happen. In a courtroom, I can make things happen. But not when there’s a medical problem. Then you have only two kinds of power. One is knowledge; with the help of my brilliant law partner I began to learn everything I could about radiology and bone lesions.

The other is the power to control your medical care – a power we still have, at least for the moment. My insurance gives me options (and my employees too – we pay 100% of their insurance). Irina and I ensured that our doctors were the best there are, and then we proceeded to bring others in, all to figure out the answer.

It was one of two things – cancer, or essentially nothing. No middle ground.

We determined that it was almost certainly – but not absolutely certainly – a benign process. Cancer, we learned, has a look that a skilled radiologist can almost always identify on sight. But cancer is cunning – it can disguise itself. My wife and I got all this from intensive discussions with multiple doctors – I felt like I was deposing witnesses, searching for hesitation, for hedging, for doubt.

We found ourselves in a room with our surgeon, the best of the best (we researched him). If anyone has a right to be arrogant, he certainly did. But he wasn’t. He was kind, gentle, utterly professional, and he put our girl at ease. He spent nearly an hour with us, answering questions, giving his ideas and recommendations. Our girl was a human being, not a number. Let’s see how long that lasts under Obamacare.

She needed a biopsy. I sat in the waiting room watching Ted Cruz fighting on the Senate floor to protect the health care system that was at just that moment taking care of my little girl. I was furious – how could anyone be foolish enough to destroy a health care system that I knew (from working overseas) was light years ahead of anywhere else?

I pulled up my iPhone and fired off a few snarky tweets to take my mind off the nightmare – I’m known for tweeting occasionally. Then I did something unusual.

Now, growing up Methodist, some might argue that I’m not technically religious. The Methodist church has gotten so liberal that I’m not even sure that they still have Jesus.

So, it was without really thinking that I tweeted out something like, “@IrinaMoises and I could use your positive thoughts and prayers right now.”

And people responded. Friends certainly, but also strangers. Other Americans who I didn’t know, who didn’t know me except as a smartass voice on a social media app, started telling Irina and I that they were praying for us and thinking about us. Dozens, then hundreds. If we needed anything, we were assured, we need only let them know. And I didn’t even say what was wrong – that we needed help was enough.

One of the things that infuriates me most about progressivism is how it cheapens the American instinct to do good. When government does everything for everyone, some people take that as their right to abdicate their duty to their fellow human beings. I’m not talking about setting up every freeloader with a sob story with a condo and a big screen – the liberal vote buying model – but the American willingness to offer a hand-up instead of a handout. So far progressivism hasn’t crushed that spirit.

I remember working civil affairs in Kosovo and facing a problem unique among the 37 nations of the multinational force. Our postal unit was getting overwhelmed with packages of school and humanitarian supplies sent by people, clubs, and churches back home. Our troopers – many grizzled combat vets – would go on patrol and see a school without books and write home. Like magic, everything they needed would appear from people who didn’t know a Serb from an Albanian from a leprechaun. They just knew people needed help, and they didn’t need to know anything else.

The only medal I earned in 26 years that I really care about is my Humanitarian Service Medal, though that may well be because the rest are merely for perfect attendance.

So here’s this week’s most important lesson. It’s that when we Americans see someone in real need, we act. It’s that we Americans understand that each of us has an individual, non-delegable duty to help others who truly need it, as opposed to perpetually subsidizing the lazy and foolish. It’s that Americans are still Americans no matter how hard people who presume to know better try to “fundamentally transform us.”

Oh, and my little girl is going to be fine. And I know America is too.


Kurt Schlichter

Kurt Schlichter (Twitter: @KurtSchlichter) was personally recruited to write conservative commentary by Andrew Breitbart. He is a successful Los Angeles trial lawyer, a veteran with a masters in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College, and a former stand-up comic.


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