Saturday, March 27, 2010


Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself. –Mark Twain

Every country has the government it deserves. –Joseph de Maistre

Dirty. –Dee Snider, front man for the rock band Twisted Sister, describing how he felt after testifying before Congress during the PMRC hearings.

I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong it's reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. –Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

This is not the piece I originally planned to do. Nope. I started out with a concept by which I would use this whole debacle surrounding health care reform as a foil to shed light on a few things I saw through the entire sordid affair, things that went well beyond one legislative bill, and use them as an indictment of the dysfunctionality of our system as a whole.

I was going to start off giving a quick synopsis of my own Aristotelian sociopolitical worldview and how, in short, the more left OR right someone swings, the more full-of-shit I think they are, blah, blah, blah. Then I was going to detail how no one, left or right, Democrat or Republican, socialist or Tea Partier, or anyone else in between for that matter, is coming out of this mess with clean hands or an unstained soul.

Was I going to present some grand, epiphanic revelation on how this nightmare can be righted, and how everyone will go back to giving each other all sort of hugs and kisses and treating each other with the respect and good will that we Americans should express?

Uh, no.

Although my day job is in healthcare, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, in contrast to the talking heads out there who say they have all the answers, I don’t. I have not the expertise, education nor experience. Besides, one of the down sides of working in healthcare’s trenches is that if I were to pop my head over the edge and take a look at no-man’s land, I’m liable to get it shot off.

I have had experience working in what, ironically enough, could be described as socialized medicine, that is, military medicine. I wasn’t impressed. On the other hand, military medicine isn’t the only industry model in the world, and philosophically I do believe in the right of everyone to have affordable, comprehensive healthcare. But will healthcare reform as it stands be the most effective for the American people? I have not a freaking clue.

In fact, I’m going to go out on another limb here and confess that my only resources for what current healthcare reform entails originated from clearly bent, hyperbolic and pretentious diatribes vomited out by fanatical, demagogic and self-righteous lawmakers (on both sides of the isle) so far down the back pockets of corporate and other special interest groups they can use the lint as comforters, as well as the blatant, yellow journalism crapped out by the squawk boxes on the radio and so-called cable “news” channels. So as you can imagine I’m taking both resources with a very large grain of salt.

(Author’s note: Yes, I know. You’re thinking that perhaps then I should not be speaking at all on this subject. But hey, I’m writing a novel, read The Golden Bough, working full time and trying to be some kind of good husband and father to my family, so something’s got to give. That being said, it’s not healthcare reform itself, philosophically speaking, that’s pissing me off. Rather, it’s the maladjusted culture surrounding it and the rest of the country that’s getting under my hide. I do hope to get to it eventually, in whatever form it takes.)

But then, as I reflected on what I would say and the chasm-like depth of this issue’s severity, I thought, why bother?

A new age has come to our country, one that has seen the final death-rattle of what I believe Woodrow Wilson described as a “community of power” and the rise of fascistic factionalism. From the conceited gloating of the Democrats to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) promising no more non-partisan agreements to Tea Partiers spitting racial epithets to the vandalism of both Democrat and Republican congressional offices, why should I add my voice to this orgiastic cacophony of squabbling hate and ill will?

Those that agree with me may laud me, but fiery licks of insults and threats will surely come from those who don’t. And those who don’t care will just—not care. They’ll do nothing, even when the house is burning down around them. No one, NO ONE possesses mutual respect and consideration anymore. No one is willing to listen to the other guy and say, “Hey, you’ve got a point there. Maybe we can work things out. What do you think of my idea…?”

That’s right. I’m talking about you. So get up, go into your bathroom, take a good long look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Where do I stand?” And I blame myself. Even as I vent my spleen on this computer, I accept my share of the blame that the country I love has drifted so far from its ideals, that somehow, somewhere along the line, both political sides decided that their side knew what was best for the country, and the other camp was at best wrong and at worst treasonous. I don’t get that, and I fear for the Republic.