Sunday, March 21, 2010

America Enters the 21st Century at Last: Health Care Passes

I have a pre-existing condition but it's always been my firm belief that it's really nobody's business. Unfortunately, because I tried to get insurance on my own a few years back, the insurance industry knows more about my health than most of my friends and colleagues. That offends the hell of my me. These days I worry a lot more about big business than I do my government (that is, when it's not overly controlled by business interests and cronies, which happens every time the Republicans get elected).

For many reasons, I have not devoted as much time to the health care debate as I would have liked. For one reason, our nation faces some bigger issues that can't wait much longer such as jobs, revitalizing our economy, energy and climate change. But health care reform has passed and I rejoice. Despite the obstruction, the spin, the foot dragging, the lies, the stunts, the name calling and the 1001 shameful acts of the Grand Ostrich Party and its ridiculous leadership, America is moving forward again and we have a health bill.

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo has it right: the only thing everybody is going to remember ten years from now is that health care reform finally passed in March of 2010. Here's a bit of what he says:
Then the debate dragged on over many months. The pace slowed in the early summer. Then there was the town hall Crazy (tm) of August. And from there we know the rest -- the ugliness, close calls, the shuddering collapse of morale after January 19th. But the truth is, nothing matters but the final result. No one remembers the politicking in advance of Medicare or Social Security or really anything else. There's either a reform law or there's not. That's why, even though it's still a momentous event in political circles, the 1994 run at Health Care Reform might as well never have happened.

Even over the last two days you've seen a shifting of perspective as all the drama and angst of recent months recedes before the reality of final passage. There's no denying this is certainly the biggest and by almost any definition the first major social legislation in the United States in almost five decades. (Congress passed Medicare in 1965.)

Today, when David Frum wrote that this was turning out to be the GOP's Waterloo...

I don't know if this is the Republican Party's Waterloo or not. They have nothing to offer these days but games and tricks and lies and tons of money from their corporate friends. I still have Republican friends and I shake my head that they can't see what their leadership has become. They cannot accept that Bush and his cronies almost destroyed the economy out of sheer stupidity and greed. For twenty years, elected Republicans have been swinging further and further to the right. That is a fact. The obvious clue are the number of Republicans in the leadership who felt Reagan didn't go far enough. Some feel that Bush did not go far enough. A ridiculous few are sorry Dick Cheney wasn't president.

I root for Obama because if he fails, we're in for rough times. Even if Democrats remain in power in Congress, Republicans are hoping the Supreme Court can cause trouble. The Supreme Court has already shown its willingness to believe that corporations are more important than people.

Corporations are fictions designed to limit liability. There's nothing wrong with that in theory, as long as corporations act in the public interest. But the latest economic crisis that began in 2007 was a direct result of corporations who could care less about the public interest. They lied and bullied their way to wealth and many of them are unrepentant.

Any person who thinks the Republican Party is going to tackle the people who got bonus money is a fool. Republicanism has always been the same as big business. In recent years, they have incorporated and manipulated people on the far right while laughing all the way to the bank. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were two of them.

The United States does not need more corporatism and it does not need more from the American Taliban. We certainly did not and do not need an unholy alliance between the two.

What we need is to stop making excuses. Our economy has slipped. We have made mistakes. Now we have done this from time to time in the past. One of our great strengths is recognizing when we have made mistakes, correcting those mistakes and moving on again. We are in danger of losing that capacity to move forward. If we are not careful, we could start falling rather swiftly if we don't grab reality by the horns, with both hands, with our eyes open and our minds clear.

There's still work to do.

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