By Leah Ireland: The issue is not whether health care is a right or a privilege — anyone with a heart knows that.

With the death of Edward Kennedy, the question of health care is up to us now. The issue is not whether health care is a right or a privilege — anyone with a heart knows that. The question is whether we still have what it takes to change.

When we go into the wilds, the first thing we do is bring free medicine to the innocently suffering. At home it is anti-American to deny anyone an opportunity to make a fortune off of the innocent suffering and sell drugs at one hundred times their value.

Can we go from insane capitalism to conscious democracy or is it too late? Have the three great Kennedys and Obama, who deserve their own Mt. Rushmore, changed or lost us? Is this country able to do the right thing no matter what anymore?

If health care doesn't pass, we continue imploding like a dying star. We keep leading the world to the dead end of greed capitalism. The millions who died for democracy (including our children at war now) have given us everything. We can't be bothered to deserve it by doing the right thing for all.

The recession made us more human — sharing and caring for others. It brought back the value of all the simple things we've taken for granted. It should boost our determination to do something great for this country in reaction to all the difficulty and loss.

Health care decides if we are as ignorant as television portrays us, as trashy as movies make us, and as stupid as anti-health-care advertising thinks us. Can a country of too much abundance and power survive itself?

Those with the money to do something other than work to survive are lost in the pursuit of vitality and spirituality. They haven't learned that it is not the world inside that reflects who they are singularly, but the world outside that reflects who we are collectively.

The Republican "It's a Communist plot to kill old people and babies with handicaps" is something else. Yet conservatives have their own great wisdom even if they don't like change. No big deal because liberals no longer have what it takes for change anyway.

When conservatives take power they build on it and increase every opportunity in their favor. When Democrats take power they get the right guy for president and then go limp.

Change for the better is harder than war. Change for the better is harder than life or death. Change for the better is what nature demands of us; that's why we are all born different. Change and difference keep the motor of life going.

As a caregiver, I experience too much money squandered, too little spent where it counts most. Hundreds of thousands of our elders have no end of life care. This is the generation that went through the Depression and World War II for us. It's a share or die world war now, and we're blowing it, regardless of our age or income.

Leah Ireland is a freelance writer who runs a local caregiving service. Reach her at leahireland@aol.com.