Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Playing Politics (a.k.a. The Art of War)

It pains me to write this, but Democrats just don’t get it. The party that wants to fight for human rights can't even make a fist.

They tote poetry to a street brawl. Confuse politics with picnics. And who could ever forget John Kerry answering the outrageous accusations of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth with silence?

While health care lobbyists mobilize the most-freakish elements in the conservative base to recreate The Jerry Springer Show at Democrat-led town hall meetings, Barack Obama and Harry Reid continue to speak of their jaw-dropping desire to include Republicans in the drafting of health care reform.

Are they masochists who secretly enjoy being humiliated? Are they prepping for a dramatic turn as battered spouses? What?

However lacking Republicans are in leadership and ideas, they are expert manipulators. They skillfully exploit humanity’s worst fears and unerringly find our lowest common denominator hot button.

Republicans could turn a monastery of Buddhist monks into a howling, finger-pointing mob.

They know how to appear as an unwavering wall of unity. They know how to follow each other to the nearest TV camera and parrot party policy.

These abilities have awarded them the White House for seventy-five percent of the past forty years, and given them political leverage when most of us thought they would be relegated to curiosity status.

If you’re unfortunate enough to be a Democrat, your elected representation is spine-free, and more concerned with appeasing knee-jerk contrarians than implementing thoughtful and inclusive policy. And if not that, they’re closet Republicans who only ran as Democrats to escape the long, dark shadow of the Bush administration.

A lumber yard after an F5 tornado isn’t as splintered as our current group of congressional Democrats. They are the answer to the question ‘When is a majority not a majority?’

I think it was Will Rogers who said “I am not a member of any organized political party—I am a Democrat.”

And then there’s us. We the feeble. If not our homes, we Americans at least inhabit healthy egos. We are the biggest, the strongest, the fastest, the smartest and the richest. We know so because we are told so.

This is America, isn’t it?

But countries all over the globe surpass us in life expectancy, infant mortality, per-capita income and education, not to mention access and quality of health care. To be kind, we are Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard. We are a delusional populace clinging to a nation that exists only in our minds.

Ironically, it is Republicans—and only Republicans--who benefit from their dismal record on education. It's no secret that the least-educated are the most-malleable. And only the uneducated would gulp the swill health care toadies are dishing out: death panels and socialism and publicly-funded abortions, oh my!

The best thing we can do is to do nothing. And be afraid. Very afraid.

Personally, I’m just relieved that more of us don’t protest. Don’t contact our elected representation to demand explanations for their actions.

We are too busy copying the license plate number of the man who smiled at our toddler in the park to bother finding out what our congressmen are doing with our money and our country. That would get in the way of doing what we do best, which is prove P.T. Barnum correct.

Health care reform is very, very serious stuff. Which is why Washington DC sports six health care lobbyists for every U.S. congressman. It is why health care is shoveling money at this crazy talk about reform like a coal man in a nineteenth-century locomotive.

The ten-largest health care insurers have seen their profits rise 428% since the year 2000, which is even higher than the rise in medical-related bankruptcies and foreclosures.

Like I said, serious stuff. No wonder the Republican noise machine is cranked up to eleven.

One party wants only to keep the wealthy wealthy and the powerful powerful. The other can't agree on the day of the week.

That leaves us.

Uncontained health care costs are a threat to everyone, be they black, white, female, male, rich, poor, gay or straight. We need to make clear to our representation that we want and need a public option with our health care, and that we’re watching.

We mustn’t confuse the world's most-profitable health care with the world's most-effective.

If we do, grandma won’t be the only one in danger of being unplugged.


  1. Wow! That was so true that it's scarey! SO well-written! kudos! But is anyone listening?

  2. Thank you. And good question. I tend to think not.