Town Square: Health care, police work

The Dorchester Banner welcomes readers' views on topics of public interest.

Town Square is an opinion column to which readers can submit their views. As a true community newspaper, we’re always looking for ways to include local thought and pertinent viewpoints. This column is a way to share those thoughts. Civility and fair comment will always prevail.

A VIEW FROM THE NORTH ON HEALTH CARE: What is wrong with Americans who aren’t on board with free health care? I’m Canadian and I don’t care that I pay extra taxes so a little boy in Alberta can have open heart surgery, or an elderly man in Nova Scotia can get the heart medication he desperately needs. It’s called taking care of your people. I’m glad I pay so that people can have a good quality of life. It’s called being a decent human being.

MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL’S ANSWER: Because free healthcare means government-run healthcare. Just this past week, I have spent about two hours on the phone with various government agencies about stupid paperwork, and had to type a formal document to the Maryland Board of Physicians that “Dorchester General Hospital” is a hospital. Unfortunately, veterans who use the Veterans’ Administration hate going there because it’s slow, ineffective, poor service, and generally rude people. They are not held to any standards.

I have a ton of VA patients who come to see me for actual care, and go to the VA once a year for a physical just to keep the insurance. I don’t think people are actually opposed to people having healthcare, it’s that they know the government messes everything up, and that someone is going to have to pay for it.

Let’s get rid of corporate welfare, sending millions of dollars to other countries, and slash our military budget so that taxes are reasonable, and then I think you’d see more people on board with the idea.

POLICE OFFICER’S PERSPECTIVE: Yesterday on patrol I met a man who challenged me to think outside the box. He was an advocate for police reform and other challenging topics. He is a man who likes to “stir the pot.” He started our conversation with, “Do you know who I am?” I asked him, “Does it matter”? During the conversation I pulled out the “good bits,” ignored the rhetoric and pulled the focus of our conversation towards those things we could agree on.

We discussed city violence and drugs and moved away from the controversial topics we may not see eye to eye on. Do you know what happened? His walls came down and maybe mine did a little bit too. We shook hands and he asked to take a picture with me. I almost said no, but I thought, you will look like a hypocrite. He then told me he really doesn’t hate police. Later I Googled who he was and found a tweet where he said the conversation was unforgettable. It is about bridging the gap. As I have continued my career in law enforcement, I have actually wondered, “Am I even making a difference? That is why I signed up for this.”

I walked away realizing I have learned to become so much more tolerant and aware of the hurt in our world. Where I should have become cold in heart I have become more willing to listen. God continues to bless me in my work and keeps my eyes open.

Town Square - your public forum - is moderated by Dorchester Banner Editor Dave Ryan. Email your comments to