The Comforts of the Status Quo

From “Change We'd Rather Do Without,” by Michael Kinsley, The Washington Post (August 28, 2009):

The reason Americans have turned against health-care reform, after electing President Obama in part for promising it, is simple: Despite protestations to the contrary, Americans don't like change. You wouldn't know it, of course, if you Hatfield Clanlisten to politicians in high-pander mode, or to talk radio hosts of the right or TV pundits of the left. Or, for that matter, if you listened to the president of the United States. You would think that while we might disagree about what kind of change we want, Americans are in total agreement that the current situation is intolerable in all areas and that change—big, immediate change—is essential. Americans do agree about this—in the abstract. But as soon as it seems that change might actually happen—as soon as we leave the abstract for the particular—we panic. We suddenly develop nostalgia for the comforts of the status quo. Sure, we want change—as long as everything can stay just as it is.

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