I posted my latest column on my Facebook page. The title was “Glitch, Health, and Care.” It was about the Healthcare.gov mess. What I wrote triggered a fast and furious reaction from a gentleman that I love dearly. What follows is a summary of a sparkly Facebook chat:
“…you seem to have joined mainstream media support for possibly the most socialistic program ever visited on the American people. Which is it, Alberto, that you really believe in, individual responsibility or collectivism? Socialized medicine didn’t work in the Soviet Union, doesn’t work in Spain, England or Cuba, and it won’t work here. Pretty soon the same Democrats who shoved it down our throats will be begging for its repeal. And, if Republicans have any brains (a doubtful proposition) they will solve the problems with targeted, discreet legislation so all Americans have access to affordable, quality healthcare. I suggest El Tiempo Latino honor the philosophy of impartial, honest journalism that motivated its founding…”
The author of this comment was Armando Chapelli the former owner and Publisher of El Tiempo Latino. It was Chapelli who trusted me with his beloved paper in 2000 —9 years after its founding in Washington, DC. As Associate Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of El Tiempo Latino, working hand in hand with Chapelli, we started in 2001 an editorial collaboration with The Washington Post that three years later would end into the purchase of El Tiempo by The Post. I was taken aback by the reaction of the “Maestro.” I read his Facebook post and shot back with one of my own:
In my column I am not supporting any law, ‘socialistic’ or not. I am calling those who oppose the current health law to tell me what the alternative is. I am asking questions about the real issue —not an internet glitch— but a health care crisis driven by out of control cost (which by the way should be a conservative point).
I am an independent voter with no party affiliations but with the right as a commentator to ask questions to those who oppose something without giving me answers. If you think that the health care status quo in this country is ok, so be it. It is my prerogative to say that Republicans play the game of crying wolf instead of sponsoring legislation to help the current health care mess —and I do not like it. I miss the intellectual conservatives and the democratic intellectuals —people to talk to about issues not to bitch about how to make political-partisan points. I am all for politics not for politicking and hate. This attitude does not make me friends. Although, I still love you and have great respect for you Armando.”
It took Chapelli a few minutes to post his answer. It was the most beautiful answer after a heated Facebook talk. He just wrote one single word, in Spanish. A simple, meaningful word. It was not a word of agreement nor surrender. It was the same word used by Cervantes to end “Don Quixote.” Chapelli posted: “Vale.”