Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Chickens Don’t Feel Much Like Dancing

I’m fully aware that politics is the art of the possible. It’s not about doing the right thing, except when you can get away with it, but about doing the doable thing. Not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. Not holding out for the full loaf when you can take half and run.

I also know that when you begin to lower your expectations, you begin celebrating small victories as big victories. They’re dancing in Washington at the moment, and calling this health care bill the House just passed a big victory. Biggest thing since social security. Whopper of a turn-around on the public care option.

You know that classic example of “mixed feelings” – when your mother-in-law goes over a cliff in your new Mercedes? That’s how I feel about this victory. (I’ll leave off the quotes. Let’s call it a victory.)

Finally, one half of my brain says, finally finally finally you democrats now allegedly running the country have done the right thing. You passed a health care bill and you supported this man Obama we all love and want to look good. Millions of Americans will be covered. Nobody kicked out for “pre-existing conditions” or for losing their job.

The other side of my brain is with Dennis Kucinich. Most democrats who voted no, along with all the Republicans-but-one, bought the Republican argument that this land with its 350 billionaires and its 2.5 million millionaires and its 44% of the world’s wealth and its endless billion dollar wars can’t afford to cover the uninsured thirty million folk. Dennis Kucinich voted no because he says it’s a lousy phoney bill, designed to make democrats look like they’re doing something when they’re not.

That old dilemma. Do you follow your principles? Or do you get practical?

I’ve been known to pass up half a loaf only to have to eat crow in the end. I want gay people to have the right to marry, not because it’s the most important thing in the world but because the frigging Mormons and frigging Catholics tell me we can’t. And I want not just the public option in health care. I want to throw the bums in the insurance industry out in the street and their hired hands in Congress with them. I’m with Dennis Kucinich here. Bring on the friggin revolution! You ain’t got principles, you ain’t got nuttin.

Have to pause briefly here for a quick aside. Is this all a moot point? Once this gets into the Senate, will they vote to allow states to opt out of the public option and gut the plan? Probably, given the number of senators who are insurance company whores. Maybe Dennis understands that and that’s why he’s decided to shout fire in the crowded theater. I really don’t know.

Then there’s the no-abortion provision. Great. Here we go again, America. The goddam catholic church is up to its old tricks again, trying to keep women barefoot and pregnant. No healthcare funding for abortions? Why are we still fighting this? Mr. Wall Street CEO sends his daughter off for a skiing vacation in Switzerland where her real purpose is a safe abortion in a first-rate hospital. His janitor’s daughter can jolly well do without. Government funding is a clerical matter for the rich; for the poor it’s the difference between getting to the shore and drifting out to sea. Why are we still allowing the rich to screw the poor like this?

OK, some of you catholic folk get annoyed at my catholic bashing. You want to remind me that the majority of catholics are in favor of abortions being covered by healthcare. It’s only the church fathers who are agin it.
In your pews/bulletins today, you’ll find a special flier/bulletin insert from the US Bishops Conference asking you to please contact your Representative and Senators immediately and urge them to fix these bills with pro-life amendments...
15,000 of these messages went out in your churches. If you’re not going to stand up for the living church, the one that’s all about love, charity, generosity and compassion, and kick these infallibility-junkies in the butt, who will?

The Stupak Amendment, it’s called, not only prevents new programs from providing health care to women needing abortions; it takes away rights they currently have by forbidding even plans patients would pay for with their own money. The pro-lifers had the democrats by the cajones and they squeezed. And the democrats, believing it was this bill or none at all, caved.

I mean seriously. No access to health care, even in the case of rape or incest? Try to go abroad (like in a Greyhound Bus) for an abortion and you go to jail. No IVF. No contraception. No treatment for ectopic pregnancy or medical anomalies during pregnancy.

The country is celebrating a great victory. Historic, they’re calling it. Obama may not lose the 2012 election after all. Whoopie.

We’ve kept the Republican foxes from the henhouse by tossing them a few chickens. Reasonable solution if you’re not a chicken.

Go ahead and dance, you guys that did all the work. I’m really happy 30 million Americans will now at long last have healthcare maybe.

Party on.

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