Mitt Romney, Health Care, and Eco-Womanism

AP Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gestures during a rally in Abingdon, Va., on Oct. 5, 2012. … Continued


Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gestures during a rally in Abingdon, Va., on Oct. 5, 2012.

Elections are moral choices. They are an opportunity for a society to say at the ballot box what it values. The first presidential debate between President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney revealed aspects of Romney’s policy positions that would be bad for human rights in the United States and bad for the earth. Eco-womanism tells us that we ought not to offend Mother Nature. If we do we will pay the price.

Never mind Romney’s overheated, over-hyper presentation. Never mind that he will turn Medicare into a voucher plan that will make it into something very different from what it is now. Never mind that he wants us to believe that he will lower taxes, keep military spending at least at current levels, cut discretionary spending, including federal funding for PBS, and balance the budget. The math does still does not work.

The thing that I found most disturbing about Romney’s policies is his lack of understanding that health care is a human right and the health of the planet is necessary for human health.

He said that on day one of his presidency he would repeal the Affordable Care Act a.k.a. Obamacare. He said health care ought to be a state responsibility. Those of us who support universal health care as a federal responsibility understand that health care is a universal human right. We cannot have life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness if we are unhealthy. The Constitution says that the establishment of justice is one of the purposes of the federal government. Universal health care is an issue of distributive justice.

Justice means that every person is able to have that which he or she is due. Since health care is a human right, every person is due quality health care. It should not matter what state a person lives in. Someone living in Mississippi has the same right to health care as a person in Massachusetts. The ACA was a good thing in that it established this principle in the United States. That this country is among the last industrialized countries to offer universal health care to its citizens is a negative and shameful American exceptionalism.

Much of what Romney said about the ACA Wednesday night was simply false. (See will be no unelected panels to tell you what kinds of health services you may receive. The good news is that people will no longer be chained to jobs they do not want to work because they need health insurance. This is a matter of liberty.

However, Romney wants to also increase drilling for oil and gas, including on federal lands. The question is does this mean more hydraulic fracturing a.k.a. fracking? This is a process that drills deep into the earth and then injects water and chemicals to release the oil and gas. Toxic water is a by-product of the procedure. Now the question becomes where do we store this poison water?

If the BP oil spill and other lesser known spills teach us anything, it is that we do not have the technical know-how to stop environmental damage from oil and gas drilling. President Obama was right to hold off on the Keystone pipeline until environmental impact studies are completed. There are those of us, myself among them, who do not want to see the pipeline because the oil coming from Canada will exacerbate climate change.

If the 90-degree spring and the 100-degree summer and the crop-killing, earth- cracking drought in the Midwest and the water shortage in the West do not warn us of the suffering of a fragile ecology that can lead to harmful effects for human life, I do not know what will. Romney talks about more jobs. However, more jobs can also come from investments in renewable energy—wind and solar. This is the future.

Believers believe that human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. Human rights are holy. We also believe that it is our human obligation to keep and to care for the earth. Both eco-feminism and eco-womanism know that we are the earth and the earth is us. The health of both humanity and the natural world is an important value.

Romney’s policies are antithetical to these values.

  • ScottCorbitt

    Healthcare is not a universal human right, though property and liberty are, both of which rights are denied by the new law. It is literally impossible to build a society with physical wants as the designated rights. Nobody has a right to anything they did not earn through the sweat of their brow, unless it is given as a free gift. If she actually understood the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (or property as was originally stated, but changed so slavery could not be claimed as a right) as the Founders and Locke laid them out, she would not make such preposterous claims.

  • trotski

    Isn’t it ironic that the party that believes in the “Right to Life” would oppose universal healthcare?

    Nobody has the right to anything they did not earth through the sweat of their brow? Does this include children?

    Your quoting of the lofty ideals of the Founders and Locke sound more like Ayn Rand to me.

  • Brian O’Toole

    I agree 100%. It Is our moral obligation to care for the Earth and one another and to be just. Having said that, the greatest threat to all of the above is your simple mindset that holds the aspirations of individuals in contempt, in favor of some half-baked notion of the “common good” and healthcare for all. The future you describe can only come to fruition through confiscation, redistribution and coercion. Sugarcoat it any way you like; These means dont lend themselves to justice, compassion or environmental upkeep. Rather spite, denigration and negligence. Historically speaking, of course. …Can’t happen here….

  • MoarBrainz

    I only see one simple mindset here, and it’s on full display in the post above mine.

  • andrew23boyle

    I was just thinking we needed another religion. Thanks!

  • MDScott

    I quit reading this after this comment: “health care is a human right”. You are wrong, Ms. Dixon. Health care is not a human right. We, as Americans, are entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. No where (in any government document) does it say we are entitled to Health Care. Health Care is a privilege and often-times a luxury. As a privilege, Health Care ought to be earned. If you want it, work for it. You don’t get it simply because you are a human. And just in case someone wants to say that “Having Health Care is considered being apart of our ‘pursuit of happiness’,” no, it is not. Having Health Care IS considered “happiness”, but the Declaration of Independence does not state man is entitled to “happiness”. It states man is entitled to the “pursuit of happiness” (i.e. you have to work for it if you want it). This started off as a bearable Romney-slam, but by making that “Health Care is a human right” comment, you have demonstrated ignorance, and in essence removed all of your credibility as a writer. As such, you should either not post anything on the Washington Post ever again, or write something absolutely phenomenal which can redeem your writer credibility.

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