Tonight had the privilege of listening to a speech by Lance Armstrong, the seven time Tour de France winner. Lance was the keynote speaker at the Omniture users’ conference here in Salt Lake City, Utah. Prior to winning his first Tour de France in 1999, Lance Armstrong was a promising young cyclist, but he came down with testicular cancer in 1996. He has an amazing story and is a powerful, living example of perseverance, overcoming all odds and gaining ultimate victory. His speech was about 45 minutes long and I very much enjoyed the first 40 minutes, but in the last 5 minutes, he delved into politics and ended up leaving a bad taste in my mouth.
He merged his speech into politics by talking about how he has lobbied the government for increased funding for cancer research. Then he made a statement that some politicians support cancer research and some don’t. Which is ludicrous, illogical and unfounded; no politician is against finding a cure for cancer. I immediately thought to myself, “please don’t ruin this speech by going into some anti-Republican, liberal rant.” Lance Armstrong then made the assertion that he felt that election day in the US should be a national holiday where everyone has off work so they can go vote. He said, in his estimation, if this were to happen “Republicans would never be elected again.” Expecting a thunderous applause for this line, Lance was taken aback when only one person, in the crowd of roughly 2,000, applauded.
Continuing, Lance told about a time he was touring a doctor’s office in Harlem, New York. He said that a doctor there told him that just 3 miles away lived some of the richest people in America. If someone in that rich area was diagnosed with cancer, said the Harlem doctor, that person will be able to afford the best health care money can buy and that person will most likely survive. But if someone in Harlem came down with cancer, because of “the color of their skin, where they live and the choice they’ve made” in life, their chances of survival are much lower. Then Lance Armstrong went on to say that this is a “moral and ethical failure of the United States.”
He got some applause for this line, but not by me. The implications of his line of thinking were flawed and insulting to me, to the Republican party and to this nation. The United States of America is a bastion of morality and responsible ethics compared to the rest of the world. We have the best health care in the world, which all have access to, rich or poor, black or white, (legal resident or illegal alien). To chastise this great nation for mis-perceived injustices and to imply that Republicans are the cause is degrading and preposterous. And what is his solution? Tax and spend, of course. Take money from the wealthy and re-distribute it through government run programs. The problem is that socialized medicine has been proven (in Canada, Europe and elsewhere) to lower the quality and availability of health care, not improve it.
America has the greatest health care in the world because of free market innovators. Because they are free to keep the fruits of their labors, doctors and pharmaceutical companies work hard, develop new procedures and medicines, and bring health care to a higher level, which all enjoy.
Thanks for listening to my anti-socialist, conservative rant.