Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A life lesson from Governor Bredesen and my 9-year old daughter

Last night while Governor Bredesen was rolling out his Cover Tennessee initiative to the General Assembly, I was seated at a restaurant on Elliston Place with my wife and 9-year old daughter MaryKathryn waiting for a legislator friend to join us. Until my friend from the Hill arrived, MaryKathryn wouldn't speak to me, and when she did glance at me, tears would well up in her eyes. She was angry because in an earlier moment of misdirected frustration over where to sit I snapped at our waitress, dressing her down in front of the other patrons.
This morning as my daughter was eating her breakfast I sat down and apologized for my outburst. Her response was direct and to the point - "Daddy, she was doing the best she could, and you always tell me that we should give people who work hard a chance."
After my talk with with MaryKathryn, I read through emails about the Governor's speech on Cover Tennessee. In similar clarity the Governor outlined a vision of giving Tennesseans who work for small busineses and who are self-employed a chance at better health and an opportunity to share in the American dream.
In his every word I heard the echo of my own voice to my children - lecturing them on how owning something makes someone personally responsible, and on how we as citizens have a responsibility to work together to give people who are trying their best a fighting chance.
By promoting a portable plan the Governor is giving working Tennesseans ownership of their health. By promoting an affordable plan, hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens - even total strangers like the young woman working at the restaurant on Elliston Place - can have access to basic health care services.
The Governor was smart to set boundaries on his vision - no new government entitlement program. What he proposes is more of an equally shared responsiblity between individuals, small business employers and the government.
Much will be written and debated on the finer points of the Governor's ideas, but I personally will not forget the life lesson I learned from MaryKathryn. At the end of the day, she and Governor Bredesen are right - we should put aside our selfish tendancies and do what we can to give people who deserve it a fighting chance.

4 Comments:

Blogger nashtndem said...

My daddy always said the best way to judge a man's character is to see how he treats someone from whom he has nothing to gain personally.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Bill Hobbs said...

If it's not another government program, why is it going to cost us $190 million the first year?

Answer: It IS another government program, one that the Tennessee Justice Center lawyers will rapidly turn into an entitlement while billing the taxpayers bid bucks in legal fees.

Why couldn't the gov just have reformed TennCare instead of dumping 190,000 sick, disabled, poor and old people off the rolls?

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