Monday, March 22, 2010

More Thoughts on Health Care Reform

-It's more than a little understatement to say that it's great to see legislation that is actually designed to help people. In many ways, the fact that, even after all the amendments and tinkering, this was a progressive bill, just reinforces one of the broader divisions in politics, between those who are always seeking to improve the United States and are labeled progressive, in no small part because they are in favor of "progress"; and those who see the United States as already perfect and who believe tinkering or trying to improve will only lead to a fall from American perfection (which much better describes their view of the United States than "American exceptionalism" does). It's a sad-but-true fact that conservatives wish to preserve a status quo that leaves a lot of room for improvement.

-In all of this, the importance and greatness of Nancy Pelosi should not be overlooked or ever forgotten.

-To echo what Erik said, there has been no small amount of absurd hyperbole, and it hasn't even been limited to politicians. Acquaintances on facebook have made comments such as "we might as well take the Constitution out back and burn it right now," somebody being grateful John Boehner was their representative, and somebody even saying "Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do," which was also apparently uttered by some guy named Jesus on a cross. Because, after all, the Jesus being crucified and wingnuts angry that a bill designed to help rein in insurance costs and aid families are totally the same thing.

In dealing with all this, I think Barney Frank hit it dead on, pointing out that the battle over health care became "the proxy for a lot of other sentiments. A lot of which are perfectly reasonable but some of which are kind of ugly. ... People out here today on the whole were, many of them, were hateful and abusive."

I couldn't agree more, and Republican efforts to disavow the hate-speech this past Sunday are as hollow as their objections to reform. When their supporters get ugly, Republicans are quick to try to disavow those supporters, but they've been encouraging this kind of language and these attitudes since the 2008 electoral campaign (remember all those crowds at McCain rallies calling Obama a Muslim and other names?). Republican representatives can't just hide from this language when it makes them look bad - it's as much a part of their movement as Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, appeals to the Reagan years, and hawkish rhetoric. It's all part of the package, whether they like it or not.

-On that note, for those both inside and outside of Congress who claim to oppose the bill on Christian principles, I might recommend they go back and read that part about some guy named Christ. I believe he who recommended helping those in need, rather than continuing to deny them care and side with wealthy interests. If you aren't in favor of helping people, you can't really make any pretense to standing for a religion whose main figure preached helping people.