My great American question
Ming Wang, MD, PhD
I arrived in America on 2/2/1982 (with $50 dollars, a Chinese-English dictionary, knowing no one in this vast new country but with an American dream), and for the past 28 years, I have been searching for an answer to what I call my “great American question”.
My great American question is this: Why here? Why does America have democracy, freedom and choice, these precious things in our lives that are still ahead of their time, and which still have NOT taken root in much of the rest of even today’s 21st century world?
A: Is it due to the pilgrims who fled the persecution in Europe on the Mayflower in 1620?
No, because there was only a small group of people who came at that time, albeit with the right idea. In most societies in human history, when only a small number of leaders had an idea but was not supported by the majority of the people, they seldom succeeded. An example of this is the event of Tianmen Square in 1989, where a small group of students wanted democracy in China but they had very little chance of success since they did not have the support of the majority of the Chinese people at that time. So, how come the ideas of democracy, freedom and choice, ideas which still have not been accepted in much of the rest of the world even today, actually took root in America here, receiving the support of the majority of the Americans as early as the 18th century? Even more remarkably, why have these concepts remained so deep-rooted and unshakable here in America, for two and half centuries?
A: Is it because U.S. has better natural resources and is well protected from others as an island nation?
No, because there are many other countries with equally rich natural resources that are also island nations, yet the ideas of democracy, freedom and choice have in fact never taken rood in many of these countries.
A: Maybe the U.S. has had great and unselfish presidents who never even wanted to dictate or remain in power forever (in contrast to most of the top leaders in many other countries in the world’s history who, once took power, had tried to remain in power forever)?
No, America has had its share of not-so-good presidents. However, for some reason, they were not like the leaders of many other countries where once someone took the #1 power, he/she immediately implemented dictatorship and changed the laws so that he/she could rule forever. Here in America, none of the U.S. presidents had ever even tried to stay in power forever. None of them had ever dared to think of changing the Constitution so that he could dictate and rule indefinitely. Is it because all of our presidents were unselfish? No, they were just like most other human beings and could succumb to the usual human temptation of wanting power and control. So, why then, none of them even tried (to stay in power forever)? The reason for the fact that no U.S. president had ever even attempted to create a dictatorship is because of the fact that they clearly knew that if they had ever tried such a thing here in America, they would meet an insurmountable resistance by the majority of the American people, to any such effort to compromise our principles of democracy, freedom and choice!
So, in summary, it is not because of a small group of enlightened leaders, it is not because of the rich natural resources that we have here in America, nor is it because of a group of unselfish presidents, that America has become such a unique and unprecedented society of freedom and choice, like none other in human history.
Hence, if it is not due to any of the reasons stated above, why then, did such a great idea of democracy, freedom and choice ever take root here in America, as early as nearly two and half centuries ago, and remained so firmly unshakable ever since?
It is because….
…because of God! God has CHOSEN this land, America, to demonstrate an idea that He has, i.e.: it is actually possible for human beings to create a society, with freedom and choice. So, since it is God’s idea to begin with, it does make sense to see that to move away from this God’s design, this great plan for such a society of freedom and choice, and instead, move in the direction of dead-end concepts such as socialism and communism (which deprives human freedom and choice and from which many other countries like China and Russia had suffered greatly, for decades, and finally now realized and are coming out of!), is not only against America, it is against God!
Medical coverage for seniors should not be taken away
(Published in the Tennessean, on 10/18/10. (copy and paste into browser window to see if needed):
Recently, the Tennessean published an article by Professor Richard Grant about less governmental control being the key factor responsible for the booming Chinese economy today. As the founding president of the Tennessee Chinese Chamber of Commerce, I have become familiar with what is going on in China in recent years as our chamber has been helping Tennessee companies to increase export to China and also helping Chinese manufacturing firms to move to Tennessee to create more jobs here. I have to say that I agree with Professor Grant whole-heartedly that less government control and more freedom to the people and business community is what has made China what it is today.
That brings us to a troublesome trend which has been developing in our country in recent years. While the rest of the world, including China and Russia, has finally realized that socialism simply did not work (it had only made people poor) and hence free enterprise and less government control is the way to go, we here in the U.S. are, for some reason, going the other way! Our government has implemented policies that have only brought more (not less) government control and less choice and freedom to our citizens!
I would like to mention here a case in point which is in fact something that every American should know today since it may dramatically and negatively impact his/her own healthcare in upcoming years. In the U.S. today, if you have sight loss due to cataract, you do have the choice to choose and pay for an upgraded premium lens that can give you a full range of vision, while having the majority of the cost of the cataract surgery itself reimbursed by insurances or Medicare. But tomorrow that benefit and choice may be taken away from us!
In fact that has already happened in some of the more socialistic healthcare countries such as Canada, where healthcare is under full government control and ration, and as a result much of the freedom and choices that we here in the U.S. enjoy (and take for granted!) today are no longer available. I recently saw a patient who flew in all the way from Canada to have cataract surgery. She had suffered from a blinding cataract and had been on the government waiting list to have surgery for years. I learnt for her that in Canada if you need cataract surgery, you have to first apply for governmental approval and then you have to wait, possibly for years (with a blinding cataract!). Even when your turn comes, you still won’t have what you really want either, i.e., the choice of having and paying for the upgraded premium lens and having insurances cover the much bigger part of the cost, i.e., of the cataract surgery itself. Even though you do have insurance, you still have to pay, from out-of-pocket, not only for the upgraded lens but also for the entire cost of the cataract surgery itself! What happened to these Canadian citizens then who need cataract surgery, want the premium lens to regain full range of vision, but who could not afford to pay for the much bigger part of the cost (the surgery), even though they do have insurance? The answer is: they simply won’t be able have the cataract surgery at all!
That, may actually happen to us here in the U.S. in the near future, if our country is indeed allowed go further in the direction of even more socialistic healthcare reform, more government control and lesser choice and freedom for us as citizens!
Why can’t we learn something from the rest of the world, from countries such as China which has leant (in a hard way) that socialism really did not work? It is less government control and more freedom and choice to its citizens what has helped China come out of poverty in recent decades, and is also exactly what has helped us here in the U.S. over the last two and half centuries ever since our founding fathers built this great nation of freedom and choice. Let’s not forget about that!
Ming Wang, Harvard & MIT (MD, magna cum laude), PhD (laser physics) is clinical associate professor of ophthalmology of University of Tennessee, founding president of Tennessee Chinese Chamber of Commerce and director of Wang Vision Cataract and LASIK Center, Nashville, TN. He has performed over 25,000 cataract and LASIK surgeries (including on over 3,000 doctors), implanted the state’s first new premium Forever Young Lens for cataract surgery and the first bladeless all-laser LASIK. Dr. Wang is currently one of only three surgeons in the U.S. conducting a FDA clinical trial for a breakthrough new eye surgery to treat age-related loss of near vision. He established Wang Foundation for Christian Outreach to China and Wang Foundation for Sight Restoration which has helped patients from over 40 states in the U.S. and 55 countries with all sight restoration surgeries performed free-of-charge. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.WangCataractLASIK.com.