Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"A Victory For Common Sense"

The news is health care. We look better to the world than we do to ourselves. America, the beautiful from afar, one nation divisible within.
E pluribus unum, in plain English, is not “out of many, one,” but—united we swagger, divided we sprawl. We are noble in spite of half of us.

We join tiny Luxembourg, Cyprus, Iceland, and 33 vastly larger countries in having health care we can believe in. The first to have national health care was Norway in 1912, the most recent, Israel in 1995. It took nearly one hundred years for us to enter the 20th century.

“A victory for common sense,” our president proclaimed, it is the inexorable march of time. The Social Security Act became law in 1935. It survived two challenges to its constitutionality in the Supreme Court. Medicare went into effect in 1965. Seeking to squelch it four years earlier, Ronald Reagan said, “If you don't do this and I don't do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free.” On March 21, 2010, the House of Representatives passed “H.R. 3590 The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” aka “The Health Care Reform Bill” by a vote of 219-212.

What so proudly we hail is merely doing what is right, what is civilized, what is compassionate. It is reform long overdue. It is goodwill, majestic and monumental. And, without doubt, it is historic. Future Pete Seegers and Bruce Springsteens of the world will sing about it.
This is what “you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children.”

I’m not celebrating yet. I can’t raise a glass and drink to “Change” while roughly half of Congress and half the country see their glass as half empty—only now, after having drunk so deeply from its bounty for so long. I can’t applaud leveling the playing field while unruly bullies stomp their feet and scream and do everything they can to break up the game unless they can have their way. Can’t cheer until I can sit them down and say, “Calm down… calm down… that’s it… no, now calm down… take a deep breath… shh, calm... that’s it… breathe… breathe… now say you’re sorry for telling people who didn’t do anything to you, “I wish you were dead.”

The shabby slings and arrows of the Right should be history, as in passé. They tried everything: “death panels” and “granny killing,” “socialism” and “Naziism,” in desperation, spit and slurs. When they didn’t work, they couldn’t wait even a day to get even uglier. Now it’s bricks and guns. Worse, death threats to
the children of legislators who supported the reform bill!

In the spirit of never say die—unless lying or threatening—Republicans cite that 34 Democrats voted against the bill is an argument for their side. I see it differently: that 34 Democrats voted against it shows a party with 34 members who voted their consciences or on principle. Let me spell that for them—princip
le, not principal. Although not a single Republican broke rank and voted anything but no, it still doesn’t seem to occur to them that while they indiscriminately hurl slurs of Naziism at anyone who opposes them, they are the ones who march in lockstep.

They like those isms. An apparent disciple, vw5Ohguy, twittered:
With passage of the wealth redistribution plan...er, I mean Health care "reform", we just took a giant jack-booted step towards socialism.
This is not what President Obama had in mind when he said, “This is what change looks like.”


  1. Your observation, "I see it differently: that 34 Democrats voted against it shows a party with 34 members who voted their consciences or on principle," is an interesting, even useful way of looking at it - a potentially non-divisive viewpoint which I hadn't considered and which I haven't heard from anyone else.

  2. The GOP, the Tea Party, and the right-wing smear machine have just suffered their nastiest possible defeat during what might have been the weakest hour of the Obama presidency.

    Sen. Reid and Vice President Biden have proved that 50 seats are worth more than 60 if you know how to use them (and they f---ing do), Speaker Pelosi cemented herself as the most powerful Speaker of the House in a century, and the grassroots teams that turned 2008 into their victory have shown that their tireless efforts are worth more than any teabagger with a machine gun.

    Forget FDR and LBJ; the Obama presidency--as my grandfather used to say--is a tale of a different horse.

    All that remains is for common sense to prevail in the growing Civil Cold War of racism, fear, and hate, but for now the Battle of the Beltway is over. The good guys (and good girls) won.

  3. Thank God this is over! I am saddened and offended that the only way this could be done was for the President and the speaker to commit acts of criminal barbarism against the constitution as not seen since Nixon. Healthcare reform is indeed a necessary component of economic revival but the cost in civics (via bribery and back room deals) sets a new lower standard of governance. Obama and Pelosi are to be congratulated but only for making Bonnie and Clyde look like a couple of school kids.

    Elsie advocates strongly for gold since the US dollar will be worthless in 6 months. Take careful note of companies like Caterpillar who will probably lay off 25-30000 to cover the costs of this bill, and states like NY and California who will lay off another 25-30000 because of the additional burden.

    If this is what change looks like, no one wins. We all lose. Elsie is going to give up her sacred cow status and go and pray for all of us that a natural disaster destroys Washington DC. That's the best change we can hope for. Get rid of the whole lot of them and start over. If God wills it.

    Udderly Saddened Elsie
    (not to be confused with Thoroughly Modern Millie)

  4. I’m Canadian (half) and know about health care. I bless it. My nephew is paralyzed and in a home (only 2 boys) where he gets round the clock health care. I’ve been there & they take wonderful care of him. He’s fed through a tube and needs lots of attention. The cost would be prohibitive if not for health care.

    My sister is in another home where she’s well looked after.

    No individual could afford this – people do need assistance.

    Thanks for your support.


  5. That portion of health care is one of the absolute necessities that we always looked away from. However, while we should allow this kind of care for the involuntarily hopeless we should not give the same care to the voluntarily hapless; Those who believe that the purpose of government is to tell them how they should go about making decisions and take no personal responsibility. Your argument is important because it is to the exception that this bill should have addressed itself. Chant dirges for the passing of America.

    My milk is soured.


  6. The main thing that distresses me about the current state of the health care debate is that there doesn't seem to be any meeting in the middle at all, despite the passage of a bill that has elements similar to what Mitt Romney passed in Massachusetts. Too many Americans are so happy with hearing news that slants to their liking. Keith, Rachel, Chris, Ed and all of the guest commentators at MSNBC (along with Bill and Jon) is telling their audience, "You're right! They're wrong! We won!" Bill, Sean, Glenn, Brit, the guest commentators at FOX (not to mention Rush, Ann, Sarah, et al) are all saying, "You're right! They're wrong! Keep fighting! 'Reload!'" Nobody's willing to engage in some constructive conversation and anyone who tries is deemed a "traitor" to the cause, no matter which side they're on.

    It's a volatile environment out there, and the tension is getting tremendously tight like a bus that is slamming on the brakes but doesn't allow for that little jolt of release after the bus stops. Something has to be done about the poisonous rhetoric in the air before any progress can be made in us coming back together again as a country.

  7. Bravo for a bit of reason! Everyone needs to boycott the entire "news" media for 3 months. While doing so we all need to sit down with "the other side". Liberals sit with conservatives and vice versa. When one talks the other dutifully shuts up and doesn't interrupt until the other is done. We find points of agreement first.Write them down and move on. Where we disagree we look for compromise. Give take. Take give. This is generally known as civil discourse and is sorely missing in this country.

    When done, the United Citizenry goes to the Capitol and hands the work they did together to the Congress as the United Demands of the United People of The United States of America. They get 48 hours to get what they are given from ideas to legislation in the same manner that the United Citizenry took 3 months to do. If they fail to do so, as A United Citizenry we Unite to Elect an entirely new Congree. All 535. This is a simple reflection of how power in this government was intended to work when the constitution was created. Power flows from the governed to the elected and never the other way around.

    Elsie likes it when people can be reasonable.

  8. I like your way of thinking there, Elsie, although the possible outcome can be a bit scary. If people were to boycott opinion news and were forced to draw their own conclusions based on what was happening in the world, what would their conclusions be? And how would they react to the conclusions they draw? I shudder...