I am appalled at the behavior of the Republicans through this debate. As many have observed, they have used fear mongering as a way of clouding the issue and turning people away from the real questions. Some weeks ago I heard a caller on a conservative talk show make what I thought was a brilliant observation. He said, "If health care is a right, then we must pay for it as a government, regardless of what it costs. If it is not a right, then we must not pay for it, regardless of what it costs." So let me say it right out. Adequate health care is a human right and is included in the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Without adequate access to health care, those rights are meaningless.
For those who yell that funding this right will bankrupt our country... I say we make decisions regarding the way we spend our money. We spend more on the military than every other nation in the world combined. And beyond direct spending on our military, since 9/11 we have spent obscene amounts of money on mercenaries who make up a significant portion of those deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Add to that the tax breaks that Bush gave to the wealthiest of the wealthy, driving up the deficit to where it was larger than all of the presidents before him combined... and we could have easily paid for health care for all. We make choices. They may not be easy choices but we make choices. Choosing to leave over 40 million citizens without health care is neither moral, economically sensible, or wise.
In the New York Times today, Paul Krugman showed a wonderful contrast between the leaders of the Democratic and Republican Parties. Obama, speaking to the dems said,
“Every once in a while a moment comes where you have a chance to vindicate all those best hopes that you had about yourself, about this country, where you have a chance to make good on those promises that you made ... And this is the time to make true on that promise. We are not bound to win, but we are bound to be true. We are not bound to succeed, but we are bound to let whatever light we have shine.”
He called to their best nature and to the true possibility of making this country a better place, let the political chips fall where they may.
Newt Gingrich he comments had this to say, If Democrats pass health reform,
“They will have destroyed their party much as Lyndon Johnson shattered the Democratic Party for 40 years”
by passing civil rights legislation.
I think Gingrich showed his, and perhaps his party's true colors here. If passing civil rights legislation hurt the democratic party - and it did as racism turned many against that party - they still did the right and noble thing. That Republicans used racism to further their political ends in the 60's is to their shame. If health care reform hurts the Democrats in coming elections, I am proud of them for doing what is right rather than worrying about their political futures. If the Republicans again use peoples' fears, racism, and ignorance to further their political ends... shame on them.
I continue to be amused at the videos I see of tea baggers shouting against the reforms... that many of them, perhaps even most of them are of Medicare age... and receive government health insurance. Going back to the conservative caller, if health care is not a right, then we should do away with Medicare and let those folk try to find affordable medical insurance on the free market. Hey! It would solve the problems with Social Security as well (which according to that line of thought we probably shouldn't have either) because a lot of those folk would be dying a lot sooner. (sorry for the cynicism, but it is true)
I read a conservative Christian board online every now and then and they are actually talking about secession! One of the posts, spoke about the producing states seceding, leaving behind the states that drain resources like CA to fail with a federal government that has lost its way. First, that is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. CA is not a producing state? Come on! Technology all begins here. The vast majority of fruits and vegetables grown in the US are grown here. The one industry - like it or not - that actually exports product from the US - the movie industry - is located here. I could go on. And it is one of the most frightening things I have ever heard. To take up arms because you disagree with decisions made by the properly elected leaders of the country? I don't even know what to say.
Finally, the one piece that I would recommend to Democratic policy makers is to modify the bills to bring the changes into being more quickly. The longer it takes, the more people suffer and the more easy it will be for the Republicans to continue the fear tactics.