Friday, January 22, 2010


> The tea partiers are enjoying their day in the sun, but
> coffee is the
> beverage preferred by most Americans, and we don’t have
> time to gang up and
> holler and wave our arms — we prefer to sit quietly with
> coffee in hand and read
> a reliable newspaper and try to figure out what’s going
> on in the world.
> Great heaps of dead bodies are moved by front-loaders
> and dumped, uncounted,
> unidentified, into open pits in a stricken country while
> people feast and walk
> treadmills on enormous cruise ships sailing a hundred miles
> off the coast en
> route to the Bahamas and Jamaica. That’s the real world,
> not the paranoid
> hallucinations of the right.
> The problem for Democrats right now is that nobody can
> explain health-care
> reform in plain English, 50 words or less. It’s all too
> murky.
> The price of constructing this intricate web of
> compromises for the benefit
> of Republican senators (who then decided to quit the game
> and sit on their
> thumbs) is a bill with strange hair and ill-fitting clothes
> that you hesitate to
> bring home to Mother. Like all murky stuff, it is liable to
> strike people as
> dangerous or unreliable. And demagogues thrive in dim
> light.
> The basic question is simple: Should health care be a
> basic right or is it a
> privilege for those who can afford it? Rush says it’s a
> privilege — pay or die —
> and for his colonoscopy, they use a golden probe with a
> diamond tip, but most
> Americans agree that health care is basic, like education
> or decent roads or
> clean water.
> Holy Scripture would seem to point us in that direction.
> And yet the
> churches, so far as I can see, have chosen to stay aloof
> from this issue.
> Churches that feed the hungry and house the homeless dare
> not offend the
> conservatives in their midst by suggesting that we also
> tend the sick. And the
> opposition has beaten on garbage cans and whooped and
> yelled and alarmed the
> populace, which they’re quite good at. These people look
> at a clear blue sky and
> see a conspiracy.
> Arousing alarm is easy, teaching is tough. It takes
> patience and discipline
> to teach; any bozo can drop a book on the floor and make
> people jump. This is
> true even in Massachusetts. And in Nevada, where Senator
> Harry Reid is facing a
> tough challenge in the fall.
> Reid is the gentlest and most patient soul in the U.S.
> Senate and his
> presence there in a colony of bull walruses is a tribute to
> Nevada. He’s a
> soft-spoken man from hardscrabble roots in the mining town
> of Searchlight who
> possesses Western honesty and openness and a degree of
> modesty startling for a
> senator, and if he goes down to defeat to some big bass
> drum, the Republic will
> be the poorer for it.
> Sometimes you despair of common sense when you see an
> empty helmet like
> former Mayor Rudy Giuliani strutting up to the podium, or
> hear the Rev. Pat
> Robertson opine on the earthquake in Haiti, or the lunatic
> congressman from
> Michigan who intimated that the president is somehow
> responsible for the Fort
> Hood massacre — you just roll your eyes and hope these
> guys have friends who
> will take away the car keys.
> Paranoia sells better in January than in November,
> however. And Sarah Palin
> was not elected vice president, and she is not in the West
> Wing advising
> President John McCain on foreign policy. It didn’t
> happen. She is investing her
> windfall profits from the book about how the Eastern media
> beat up on her, but
> we the people decided she was not vice presidential
> material. We don’t choose
> our family doctor based on his ability to yodel, and we
> don’t elect a woman vice
> president because she’s perky.
> And your high school civics teacher would not have given
> you a high mark for
> saying, as the Rev. Robertson did, that the earthquake in
> Haiti was God’s
> judgment on voodoo. God has tolerated voodoo in Washington
> for years and not
> seen fit to shake the city yet. Priests and mojo men dance
> around the Capitol
> every day, waving skulls on sticks, scattering their magic
> powders, trying to
> stop progress with a hex, and God is content to observe
> them.
> So do we coffee drinkers. Government is in the hands of
> realists and in the
> end we shall prevail.

No comments: