Last Friday, I had a conversation with another Scout father during our Vietnamese New Year party. He and his wife are dentists with their offices. They are a successful couple in their late 30s. I don’t think he is older than me. He was either born in the U.S. or migrating here at an early age.

Our conversation stemmed from the email exchanges we had on masking, vaccinations, and politics. From his scientific knowledge and personal perspective, he does not support vaccination mandates. I agreed with him. It’s an individual decision. There’s no shame in not getting vaccination. If you are unvaccinated and you contracted Covid, you should accept the fact that you put yourself at risk and you could take up an ICU unit, which could be used for other critical conditions. Your body, your choice. If you choose not to get vaccinated (the majority of Republicans) and you are against abortion (also the majority of Republicans) then you are a hypocrite. You can do whatever to your body, but you don’t give women that choice.

As far as masking, we didn’t dwell much into this issue because it had been debated to death in our email exchanges. What I found intriguing is that the young dentist is more conservative than liberal. He doesn’t support universal healthcare because he believes that would lower the quality of his service as well as the whole health industry. He explained that suddenly people show up to his office for the first time in 20 years with all kinds of issues. To me that’s a good thing. At least they showed up to check up rather than waiting until they got serious issues. That would cost even more. I know someone who had a heart problem, but didn’t get checked up. When he almost died, he showed up at the hospital and stayed for two weeks. His bill was $80,000, but he didn’t have a job and didn’t have any money. We, the taxpayers, had to cover his expenses.

Since he is a dentist, I wanted to get some inside perspective from a medical profession. I asked him if Medicare paid less than insurance. He said yes, but the bigger issue is that it takes time and effort to get reimbursement from the government. He takes his time with his patients to provide quality care. If he has to take on more Medicare patients, his quality would suffer. If he doesn’t then his business would suffer.

I totally understand his situation and it also comes down to money. I have tremendous respect for the medical professionals, which include dentists, doctors, and nurses. They have to have compassion and empathy in order to be in the industry of helping people. They make decent money as well but that shouldn’t be their priority. But then the more I see medical professionals turning into businesses, the more I lose my faith in them.

As I said before, I no longer identify myself as a Democrat. The Republicans are all about looking out for themselves and I am not down with that. The Democrats have more social inclusions. They are morally right, but they simply can’t get things done. They also need to get more young people like the dentist on their side. Then again, we’re still living in a white man’s world.