Her subsequent statements are far more confusing than enlightening
Miss USA hadn’t even won her title when she found herself the subject of some intense online criticism for comments made during the interview portion of the pageant.
While the public doesn’t tend to expect elevated discourse of policy issues from Miss USA candidates, it may have been this contestant’s capable and qualified background that, ironically, drew more ire from the audience.
The winner, Kara McCullough, who represented Washington, D.C., works as a physicist for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. But her resume and capable oration were quickly overlooked when she was asked if she thought that “affordable health care for all U.S. citizens is a right or a privilege?”
She was all too quick to call it a privilege, as you can see in this clip:
"I'm definitely going to say it's a privilege." Listen to your new #MissUSA talk about healthcare in the USA. https://t.co/CzPBeaTYHO— Miss USA & Miss Teen USA (@Miss USA & Miss Teen USA) 1494819029.0
A transcription of her response:
"As a government employee, I am granted health care and I see firsthand that for one to have health care, you have to have jobs."
"So therefore, we need to continue to cultivate this environment that we're given the opportunity to have health care as well as jobs to all American citizens worldwide.”
How seriously you wish to take the social commentary of a pageant contestant is your own prerogative, but it’s understandable why many would balk at her proclamation that you need a job in order to have health care—especially since a multitude of workers (freelancers, part-timers, et cetera) do have jobs, but don’t have affordable health care.
Later in the program, she touched on the notion of feminism and how she prefers striving towards “equalism.”
And while the wheels of justice turn slowly, the mob justice of internet outrage flies along at a breakneck pace. After being crowned on Sunday, McCullough has already walked back her comments on health care. Speaking to Good Morning America (via The Hill), she flip-flopped on her earlier statement, offering,
"I would like to just take this moment to truly just clarify because I am a woman—I'm going to own what I said. I am privileged to have health care. And I do believe that it should be a right and I hope and pray moving forward that health care is a right for all worldwide."
However, she obfuscated her position further when expounding on her clarification on GMA, stating, “I am privileged to have health care. I just want people to see where I was coming from. Having a job, I have to look at health care like it is a privilege.”
So following her clarification that she believes it “should be a right,” she twice said that she views affordable health care as a privilege.
I’m not sure we’ve really achieved any more clarity on her position, but, I suppose, in the weird times we live in, that viewing health care as a right and as a privilege is more progressive than viewing it as just a right.
Maybe. I really don’t know. But I am fairly certain that McCullough should probably curb the flip-flopping lest she get vilified by every single person with an opinion on health care.