Thursday, January 21, 2010

Anatomy of a Great Idea Ruined by the Right and Big Insurance Companies

About a year ago, poll after poll showed health care reform, as advocated by Barack Obama and proposed by progressive Democrats, was favored by almost 80% of Americans. 80%! Today, as a Republican prepares to replace Ted Kennedy, every media outlet in the country is declaring the death of health care reform. And Gallup polls show the majority of Americans are opposed to health care reform. What the hell happened in a year's time? I'll tell you what happened, giant insurance companies, with the help of the radical right and a bunch of psycho-aggressive paid/fake protestors and lazy media enablers, used their money and power to cram the evil status quo health system down our throats and make us like it.

In a time when downsizing (the offspring of a Bush/Cheney-ravaged economy)has caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, and thus their health insurance, there was never a better time to pass the most humane, moral legislation since FDR's NRA. And the people agreed...until those loud, vicious "tea-fascists" started showing up at town hall meetings--shouting down reason, bullying compassion, and assaulting the truth. The networks and newspapers reported this paid-for-play acting like it was a real story, and Mr. and Mrs. Middle America swallowed it whole. Never was it reported that this "grassroots" movement was bought and paid for by insurance companies, trying to kill the competition, i.e., a government-supported public health care option.

By summer, the tide had turned. Reformers and anti-reformers were split down the middle; still, the House passed a watered-down bill and the Senate had ratification in its final stages, when Massachusetts voters turned redcoat on us.

Now the millions who are without health care are out in the cold again. Literally, big corporations and the right wing will be the death of them all. Or as one liberal wag put it, "The GOP is in the pockets of the health insurance lobby, and their health care plan is this: Don't get sick...and if you do, die quickly."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Back From The American Southwest...And Down In The Dumps

Take my advice--if you live in a cold-weather climate, do not travel the American Southwest in January. You'll never want to come back home.

As my wife and I traveled through Phoenix, the Nevada/California desert, Los Angeles, San Clemente, Palm Springs, and Twenty-Nine Palms, we kept getting reports of minus-zero wind chill back home. This made the sunny and 75-degree weather of southern California feel like bliss. We got lost in a "desert reverie" of dreamy days and glorious sunsets. Calm and warmth seeped into our pores.

Now we're back home, and the weather is as dreary as ever. January and February in the Midwest make me wonder why in god's name our forebears ever settled here. Didn't they know what they were in for? Yes, I know California is having floods right now, but they won't last. And it won't rain there again until June.

What's worse, Ted Kennedy's old seat has been taken over by a Republican. Now the bastards have enough votes to block health care reform. What has become of the world when you can't even count on Massachusetts any more?

It's going to be a long, cold winter.