I’m done


Today I sparred back and forth for a final time on health care reform with a friend of mine. I have decided, blogging-wise, I’m calling it a day in this area. Game over.

Simply put, some people just don’t care. You can talk about the 40 million sans health insurance; about the greedy corporations desperate to defeat a public option; about people being denied and denied and denied and denied—and some among us will never, ever, ever, ever really give a shit.

That’s my friend. She’s a very nice person within the parameters of her own world. But her view of America is, frankly, sick. Obama is a Muslim, probably not born here. He wants to kill Grandma and open the borders to every living Mexican. There’s too much Spanish being spoken, and George W. Bush was the man to lead us. Though we weren’t attacked by Iraq, we had to respond forcefully against The Terrorists (caps intended), and those Iraqis do, without question, look a helluva lot like Al Queda. So it was just.

To my friend, America is best symbolized by the above picture. We have, in her thoughts, become way too whiny. People need to help themselves, or suffer the consequences. Welfare mothers and crack addicts and  the like have made their own beds, so why should others be called to do anything about it? My friend looks at the Democrats and sees a bunch of snobs sipping tea and driving BMWs. Global warming is a hoax, and she has the proof—winter is still cold, summer is still hot. My friend probably doesn’t have any beef with the gays, but why do they have to flaunt it?

My friend wants the government to stay out of our lives. Well, except for Medicaid. And Medicare. And the post office, the military, conservative Supreme Court rulings, the police and fire departments, her bi-weekly garbage pickup. But no new government because, well, she’s not quite sure. Except that the government=bad.

My friends gets her information from those around her, Fox News and conservative talk radio. If Rush or Hannity or Billy O says it, moments later the words become her own. She dismisses the New York Times as a liberal rag, but never actually reads the New York Times to know such is true. She probably can’t name more than five U.S. senators, but they can’t be trusted. (Actually, on this point she might be right).

My friend loves America, but I wonder whether she knows America. Does she appreciate the richness of the diversity? Does she understand the need to pick up those who are down and struggling? She cites her own immigrant past, but does she really know what it means? Who she is? What she—as a person living here—stands for?

We are both Americans.

But we live in vastly different Americas.

15 thoughts on “I’m done”

  1. billy o, rush and hannity all suck. BUT, smerconish is awesome. he’s a conservative that voted for PBO. very smart man and a good journo.

    did you catch his interview with PBO today from the WH today? it was awesome – the prez took callers on live radio.

    in regards to your friend, she sounds smart. i bet i would like her.

  2. When did this country become divided into such extremes? Why doesn’t anyone care about striking a balance anymore? Neither side has it right, they’re both wrong. There is a happy medium in the middle where this country could thrive, but everyone is so worried about being right (even though they are incredibly wrong) that nothing will ever change…

    It’s not a competition people, wake up and judge every situation as it’s own and we might get some where. I can’t understand how some people are so simple, that they’ll just follow along with an idealogy and not think for themselves.

  3. dan, i am all about it. i think care providers and the insurance industry should fix this on their own, with the government playing the role of mediator. The government won’t do that, though, since it would only be involved for a short while and wouldn’t be able to create enough tax revenue for all of the grubby politicians to get their hands on.

    It’s crazy to me that our health care system has been in place for decades, reform has been talked about for about 20 years and now we need to pass this law through in a matter of weeks. Ready, fire, aim!

  4. I think Jeff is getting the frustration that sounds similar to what I deal with on a daily basis. As a registered independant who voted for PBO and a republican governor, I am surrounded by these batshit crazy right wing nuts who also believe global warming is a hoax, and that people choose to be gay. As a country, we need to simply open ourselves to new ideas…not bring guns to rallies and call our president a “monkey”. Hang in there Jeff…at least be happy its not a presidential election year.

  5. Lunchboy….I believe that PBO has a feeling that if he doesn’t pass this bill this year, his political capital will be spent. I think (and really who am i but some guy) PBO is throwing as many ideas out there to simply see what sticks….not the best idea, but at least he’s going for the gusto.

  6. I agree with that lunchboy. Why is it that EVERYTHING has to be done right here, right now?!? Why is everything presented as if it’s a dire situation? It’s all part of the extremism (on both sides) that has taken hold of this country.

  7. What possible motivation do the insurance companies have for fixing the situation? They’re making money hand over fist as it is right now.

    Americans deserve health care that’s not driven by a profit motive…simple as that. And if you think the insurance industry is the group to regulate themselves, then I need to explain the “fox guarding the henhouse” metaphor to you.

  8. You need better friends Jeff. I’m volunteering to be yours, I share the same views and hopes as you, but I’m not American and never wanted to be one.

    The US we see now is the one lazy to fix its problems, problems that many other countries fixed before. Where I live, health care is free and universal, and we can live our lives thinking about the problems that are really important when you achieve this level of civility. One day your friend will understand, and until there I can be your friend (not that I will not be after).


  9. Oh Paulo…quit kidding around. We all know that no government-run health care program can be successful. Rush told us so.

    lunchboy..two things…one, how can you possibly believe the insurance industry can regulate itself?

    And, the urgency behind a health care plan is refreshing. You said it–the discussion has been taking place for 20 years with no action. Isn’t it about time that our elected officials take some action that doesn’t involve the loss of American soldiers and boatloads of money going to other countries to rebuild the damage our bombs have done?

  10. “i think care providers and the insurance industry should fix this on their own, with the government playing the role of mediator”

    where did i say the insurance industry could go at this alone?

    Yes, a solution is needed…one that makes sense and isn’t hurried for the sake of hurrying. Show me other times that the “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach has in Government.

  11. What is really frustrating, more than GOP disinformation efforts, is the weak, impotent response by Obama and the Democrats.

    Finally (although it’s probably much too late), Obama is starting framing health care is a moral issue rather than a political one. Indeed, it IS a moral issue, in large part, an issue of right and wrong. He should have framed it that way from Day One.

    And FINALLY you see some Dems, like Barney Frank, fighting back strongly and with some fire against the lies and blindly ignorant misperceptions (e.g death panels).

    This is what has driven nuts about the Democratic party for the last two decades. They can’t stand up for themselves. Rather than fight back against the schoolyard bully, they just stand there and cry about how mean he is.

  12. Conservatives don’t think government is bad. They think a federal government dictating these matters to everyone is bad.

    Conservatives don’t think people should go without healthcare. They think that there are ways to make health insurance more affordable and accessible without shifting costs to taxpayers.

    Furthermore, most conservatives don’t like medicaid or medicare. Not sure why liberals have constantly been bringing those two up in this ongoing debate. Considering just how underwater those two programs are, it’s laughable to me that their names would be invoked by those who would essentially be expanding them.

    The size of the federal government is OUT OF CONTROL. It is UNSUSTAINABLE. It will affect ALL OF US. Please keep that in mind when you stamp your feet about how we “don’t care” about the uninsured, because we’re more concerned about the whole entity.

  13. lunchboy…that’s weak, real weak.

    “where did i say the insurance industry could go at this alone?”

    Oh, technically you didn’t say the insurance industry could go at this alone.

    You said, “i think care providers and the insurance industry should fix this on their own.”

    Now pardon me, but the insurance industry AND care providers are one in the same to me. In fact, any time I have a change to my care, I have to call my CIGNA Case Specialist to get it approved.

    Now, again, pardon my ignorance, but if my insurance company’s case specialist has to approve my care, isn’t she part of my care providing team?

    One in the same to me.

  14. Classicist…I won’t argue with you. In fact, I think I agree with you…on most points.

    “Conservatives don’t think people should go without healthcare. They think that there are ways to make health insurance more affordable and accessible without shifting costs to taxpayers.”

    Again, you made a great point…the problem is, the Conservatives just had eight years to find a way to make health insurance more affordable and accessible.

    Instead, they stood by and watched, and as lunchboy said earlier, talked about it. It sure makes for good debate.

    The problem is they didn’t do anything about it. Instead, they let George Bush spend billions of dollars in a war we’ll never win, ever. Period.

    Now those same conservatives have the ‘nads to talk about overspending for AMERICAN HEALTH CARE?!

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