It’s getting down, as they say out West, to nut-cutting time.
By the time you read this we’ll all know if we have a president in the Oval
Office, or another empty suit. My man in Washington may have the juice to
inspire us, he may even have some master plan, which I am incapable of
understanding, but as of this writing, he’s looking weak and cowardly.
I would like to know, exactly, what our objective is in Afghanistan. No nation
has had any success in that terrain, and in that particular political
environment. The generals (as they always do in hopeless campaigns) are calling
for more troops. Are we after Bin Laden? Al Qaeda? The Taliban? Bin Laden is of
no consequence; he’s probably in Pakistan anyway. Al Qaeda is a loose
confederation of maniacs, which is in a constant state of flux. The Taliban
rules the region, both militarily and politically. Actually the drug lords rule
the region; they simply let the elected officials strut around in their suits
and make speeches. As long as they don’t interfere with their business and
profits, they leave them alone; much like our own country.
Why not just dress six-hundred of our troops in red tunics, mount them on
horses, arm them with lances, and charge into the Khyber Pass? It’s enough to
make you sick.
And what’s the deal in Iraq? We knocked off Saddam and set up a government for
them, and yet the bombings and murder continue. The coffins still arrive at
Dover Air Force Base. Innocent Iraqis are still dying. Our private security
contractors hold obscene and embarrassing drunken orgies on our dime and nothing
changes. Or was that in Afghanistan? I forget. Does it really matter? All I care
about is that Obama promised an end to this nonsense, and I see no real end
being pursued. He’s breaking his promise. Not good.
As bad as all this looks, it pales compared to his caving in on real health care
reform. The reform he PROMISED. He is planning an address on this coming
Wednesday, which from all reports will be a manoeuvre designed to distance
himself from the promised public option. If he does in fact cut and run from the
fight, he will lose my political and financial support. I demand a basic,
government-run, policy that I can buy into if I so choose. I further demand that
those who cannot afford even this basic package be covered at government
expense. At TAXPAYER expense. At MY expense. It’s the moral thing to do, and it
makes economic sense.
I trust the insurance and drug companies to fix themselves not a bit. This
problem did not start yesterday, and they have made no voluntary move to remedy
I will not settle for “incremental reform” for the simple reason that people are
dying as we speak because they cannot access the "BEST MEDICAL SYSTEM IN THE
WORLD.” If it’s true that we have the best system (other countries and the W.H.O.
might disagree) what good does it do if some can access it and some cannot? To
me it is a moral issue as much as a financial one. The unemployed 55-year-old
construction worker who lost his job, through no fault of his own, can’t wait
for incremental reform, a trigger, or any other bullshit half-assed measures
offered by a cowardly Congress. The proposed co-ops are a laughable dodge, and I
didn’t hear anything about them during the campaign as I wrote my checks to the
DNC. Why in the name of hell is this administration catering to the likes of
Conrad, Lincoln, and Baucus? Why are they even TALKING to Charles “They’ll Kill
Grandma” Grassley? The three of them together represent fewer people than live
in New York City.
Now I’d like to discuss some particular Americans. What some of them have been
doing and saying is an abomination. Secession? Armed revolution? Shouting down
other citizens in the name of the same first amendment they are denying others?
Strapping on pistols and carrying assault rifles at gatherings at which the
President is speaking? Comparing Obama to Hitler? Seeking to deny Obama the
opportunity to speak to schoolchildren because you think he’s going to
“indoctrinate” them? Seeking to require him to submit copies of his talks before
letting him speak to the kids? What country am I living in?
The jackasses who indulge in any, some, or all of the above are the Fascists. We
all know what’s really behind this plastic “outrage.” My lovely, sweet, and kind
wife was attempting to make a liberal point on a Facebook discussion group, and
was called a “nigger-loving whore.” After a bit, she received a request from the
same Mr. Haggert (I only wish I knew his first name, I’d include THAT too) to
“die, fucking whore.” Were this an isolated incident, I’d blow it off, but I’ve
run into such misinformed and fear-driven hatred that I fear for my country and
it’s democracy. How do you “persuade” morons like that?
Last month, in a response to my column, I was called an anti-Semite, who would
approve of Jews being gassed, for simply daring to criticize the previous
administration in vulgar terms, and for propounding views contrary to the
accuser’s own narrow political vision. In the time-honored manner of his ilk, he
signed his name “White,” symbolically stuck his fingers in his ears, and instead
of refuting my arguments point by point, simply “resigned” from the Megillah.
Oh, yeah, I’ve also been invited to leave the U.S. if I like other systems so
much. If it weren’t so serious a situation, it’d be laughable. I’m not going
anywhere; DEAL with it. This is the same crap I heard from the Right during the
Vietnam years, and is just as stupid a ploy today. This is the “love it or leave
it” misquote. To those who employ it, I would suggest Googling the phrase, and
informing yourselves of the actual intent of the author.
I’ll close by attempting to refute ONE argument against a public health care
option I was confronted with. It starts with the premise that government can’t
run anything efficiently. (Reagan first used this bit of dogma in order to get
himself elected. He then proceeded to prove that HIS government, at least, was
bound and determined to prove the silly statement correct). Actually, government
runs quite a few things efficiently. EZ Pass. The DMV. The Military. Police
(once upon a time, in the Nineteenth Century, police forces were privately run.
The resulting corruption gave birth to the efficient system we now enjoy). Same
with the fire department.
Here is my question: Let’s, for argument’s sake, assume that anything the
government runs is doomed to failure. If that is the case, this proposed public
option will not be very attractive, and nobody will join. It will fail. Big win
for the insurance companies, as everyone will stick with their yearly pranging
with higher rates and co-pays, fewer and fewer benefits, and arbitrary denials
of claims. That’s not the issue though, and the moneyed interests know full well
that people will FLOCK to government-run healthcare; as they do with Medicare.
When the polls ask the honest question: “Are you in favor of a government-run
OPTION,” about 70% of Americans answer in the affirmative.
To all the Conservatives who indulge in the race baiting, fear mongering,
threatening tactics mentioned above, I would ask them to suck up their losses.
They no longer run things and they are going to have to learn to accept that
which displeases them. After eight years of misery inflicted on me by Bush, I
have no pity for them. The world is watching. They shouldn't embarrass
themselves any more than they have already.
Mr. President, I hope I’m wrong, and you finally grow a pair. I’ll know in two
days. The rest of you already do.