Fourteen years ago, within a day or two of bringing our newborn first daughter home from the hospital, I received a scary phone call.
As with any new mother, having a baby took adjustment. I had a lot to learn. Fortunately my own mother was available to guide me through the maze of details. I also had the obligatory plethora of baby books, the advice of more experienced friends and a wonderfully supportive husband. All in all, I did fine.
Until the phone call.
At the time, we were a penniless, uninsured young couple struggling to start a home business. Our house was old (1875), our clothing and furnishing were secondhand, and our fiercely self-sufficient attitude raised a few eyebrows. But we were living the life we wanted – independent, rural and frugal.
In short, we were just the type of people the government finds suspicious.
The phone call that rocked my secure, happy little world was from a social worker inquiring how I was doing with our new baby. Upon hearing that I was fine, she asked if she could come over to show me proper parenting techniques and supply some helpful literature.
In a calm voice that disguised my pounding heart, I told her about the numerous baby-care books we owned, the helpful guidance I had from friends and family, and the breast-feeding support group I attended. When the social worker again offered to come over, this time to discuss postpartum depression and discipline techniques, I thanked her for her concern but politely declined.
I hung up and looked around our house, trying to see it from a stranger’s viewpoint. We were apologetic enough with friends about the shabby condition of our home. What would a social worker think? Would she object to the lack of carpeting and the leaking roof? Would she dislike our wood stove (our only heat source) and complain about our single-pane windows? Would she question our decision to sleep with the baby? Would she approve of our plans to homeschool? Would she report to the authorities that we owned firearms?
I later learned it was standard practice for the hospital to ask social workers to check up on all new moms. Academically I appreciated the thought; but realistically I knew my husband and I had red flags all over us for being, well, different.
I don’t like the idea of letting strangers into our home to “teach” me what they think I should know about raising kids. I didn’t like it when we had our first baby, and I like it even less now. Our home life is our business, no one else’s. Our children are healthy, happy, respectful and loving. We don’t ask anyone to raise, educate or discipline them, just as we don’t ask anyone to supply us with money, food or health care. All we ask is to be left alone.
But that’s not what the government wants. The government wants to help. Purely from the goodness of its heart, don’t you know.
We dodged the home-invasion bullet 14 years ago. But now we learn that helpful “home visitations” are part of the Obamacare package. This time the social workers won’t be through our local hospital; they’ll be federal bureaucrats who will judge whether we’re living up to their requirements in raising our children and maintaining our health.
In other words, a bevy of perfect strangers will ask you to “voluntarily” allow them into the sanctity of your home to counsel you on how to live up to their standards rather than yours. Isn’t that nice?
The families targeted for home invasions … er, “visitations” include the usual suspects (young mothers, families with developmentally delayed children, low-income families) but may be broadened to include anyone who uses tobacco, who is serving (or has served) in the military, who spanks, who owns firearms and (of course) who homeschools.
And this is just one small detail of our Brave New Health Plan. It’s interesting – and terrifying – that the current administration is so hell-bent on ramming Obamacare down our throats (in opposition of 53 percent of Americans) that it’s applying thuggery toward reluctant politicians and urging political suicide from Democratic legislators. But when all the myriad, invasive details of this massive (and largely unread) bill come to light, even the most ardent supporters will quail when they realize they, too, could be targeted for some transgression.
The more distrustful among us question why the current administration is willing to risk so much to pass something so loathed. Gee, could it be that Obama is manufacturing a health-care “crisis” in order to seize more power? After all, one-sixth of the economy is no small potatoes. If the government can control you literally from cradle to grave, imagine the opportunities for even more crises and more control. It’s never-ending. Or rather, it will only end with the demise of America as we know it.
Those of us who chose to live a responsible lifestyle outside of the mainstream are automatically suspect by those whose goal it is to attain a “Stepford” citizenry. It doesn’t matter how many public-school kids fall through the cracks; we must be homeschooling to hide the bruises. What dark and sinister secrets are we concealing by living in the country? Why would anyone decline government assistance unless we’re hiding something?
We are decent, law-abiding, hard-working people. Our only crime is an intense mistrust of government (well-earned, I think) and a fierce desire to be left the hell alone. If we need help – and we sometimes do – we’ll turn to those who are truly experts – family, friends, clergy and professionals. Not the government. Never the government.
I will never voluntarily allow a federal representative into my home to “help” me. But Obamacare can do the next best thing: seize control of my health care … and use it as a skeleton key to my front door.
Reagan perhaps said it best: The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”