The Dress Explains the ObamaCare Debate

Why is ObamaCare so polarizing? Perhaps like the blue and black (gold and white) dress, it is simply a matter of context and perspective.

That isn’t to say we can’t use science and facts to find truth, but rather that our perspective is clouding our ability to see the light (…or is the light clouding our ability to see the truth?).

Let’s take a look at the dress meme and then apply these ideas to another heated debate, ObamaCare.

The Color Changing Dress Meme

The meme-o-the-day here on February 27th, 2015 isn’t Scott Walker taking Koch money, busting unions, and passing ALEC legislation. It’s not the subsidy battle on March 4th. It’s not who is going to win American Idol. It’s  a cat video an image of a blue and black (or gold and white?!?) dress.

The infuriating dress appears to some people as white and gold and other people as blue and black. No, it’s not a trick being played on you, it turns out that different people simply see the same exact dress a different way. Here is what you need to know about the dress:

  • It’s actually blue-ish and black-ish (this can be proved by using a color picker in photoshop, looking at the hex values, and color balancing the image).
  • It looks white and gold to some people because they are wrong of the way we see color in context of light.

Human beings evolved to see in daylight, but daylight changes color. That chromatic axis varies from the pinkish red of dawn, up through the blue-white of noontime, and then back down to reddish twilight. “What’s happening here is your visual system is looking at this thing, and you’re trying to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis,” says Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist who studies color and vision at Wellesley College. “So people either discount the blue side, in which case they end up seeing white and gold, or discount the gold side, in which case they end up with blue and black.” (Conway sees blue and orange, somehow.) – This Wired Article explains he dress mind-melt in detail.

Different People See ObamaCare Differently

So to tie this together, perhaps due to “the light in which we see the law” different people look at the same PPACA and see completely different things.

For instance T. may look at the law and see the healing of the sick, the caring for the poor, and the equality of all people (things T. was taught from birth). While T.’s father (a Reagan conservative) sees pure godless socialism, extortion, and inefficiency (apparently T.’s mother was the one responsible for instilling social views) . Essentially T. and his father are looking at the same exact thing, but seeing almost literally the opposite thing.

We Can Use Science to Find Truth… Or At Least Truthy-ness

But wait, we can use science to prove that this wasn’t just a matter of perspective. The dress itself, despite the way it looks to about 50% of society, is in fact blue and black (not pure blue and pure black, but in the blue and black spectrum, making the blue black camp “more right”, but not invalidating the ideas of the gold white camp.)

So thus, we can actually look through the law. Read it’s provisions. Study the facts. Study the economics and the science behind them, study how they are actually affecting America, and draw some factual “science-y” based conclusion. It’s not as simple as a color picker. But it sort of goes to show that your neighbor (or father) isn’t crazy, they simply are seeing “that issue” (be it ObamaCare or whatever) from a different perspective. So it seems, while the answer isn’t black or white, there is actually a “more true” off-blue-ish-grey sort of answer.

Great, So What Now?

Now the question becomes, how do we more effectively show the proofs behind the legislation we support or don’t support. And perhaps more importantly, how do we get other people to believe that science is real? Ah well, it appears this line of thought will simply lead us down another rabbit hole.


Author: Thomas DeMichele

Thomas DeMichele is the head writer and founder of,, and other websites. He has been in the health insurance and healthcare information field since 2012. is a...

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