The International Writers Magazine: US Healthcare + Readers Responses
We The people
"The American people are smart enough to do this on their own."
- John Boehner, Ohio Republican Representative, when asked on Meet The Press if there should be federal government regulation over the purchase of health insurance across state lines.
Part of our 2010 Faux Revolution is the expulsion of ridiculously unsubstantiated nonsense like using the American People whenever someone is trying to make, prove or back up a point. There is no real American People, and if there were such an animal there is no way they would be willing or able to agree en masse on everything stated daily by debaters, lawmakers, executives, pundits, etc. It is a fantasy, which is a nice way of saying it is a blatant lie, and it must stop. In fact, all mention of any kind of "people" in solidarity must cease, especially when pitching ideology. The good of a group is never considered when ideologies are being thrown around. It is only good for the ideologues espousing their creed for an explicit segment of society. The rest is a steaming pile of bullshit.
There is one exception; as is the rule in every scientific postulation: The American People adore free stuff or want a lot of stuff, but not pay a lot for it. This, of course, is not particular to the American People, but Human Nature in general. "Free" is the most popular word in any language, but since we are built as a nation on the concept of Free, it comes with the territory. This is why populism is so popular among the American People. Give us more cops! More parks! More malls! More roads to get to the malls! Bring the mail! Protect the kids! Kill the bad guys abroad! Keep the banks honest! Taxes? Fuck that!
Then there is the Oedipal angle of the American People. Who did this terrible thing to us? Oh, it's us!
For instance, lately, the American People have come to their senses about institutions; suddenly they all suck. Government, Organized Religion, Banks, Military, almost all forms of systemic authority are under scrutiny. Ah, but who thought up these institutions? Who runs them? In most cases who chooses who runs them? And who supports their perpetuation? The American People do. Did I miss something? Are the Russians running our banking system? Who makes our laws and enacts them? Scandinavians or Americans? And are these people or pods of some kind?
Right now you're shouting, "Hey, I didn't vote for..." or " I did not choose...", but then aren't you also a member of the American People?
I love when American People in a position to opine while speechifying broach the distinction between the American People living on Main Street and the American People running Wall Street; as if only one such group is defined as the American People, which is apparently at odds with the thinking of the American People.
Another queer aspect of the American People quotient is its inability as a group to determine what is acceptable for the individual as opposed to the whole, and most importantly how individual conscience deals with society at large.
Two prime examples of this would be Abortion Rights and the Environment.
Several polls annually state a majority of the American People are against abortion as an act, the act of yanking a live healthy human fetus from an otherwise healthy female host. Yet, if faced with an individual case, say, your daughter is raped by a retarded, herpes-ravaged dope fiend at a Death Metal Concert, there is some leeway. Usually, in a bizarre twist many American People who do not want the government regulating their use of weaponry have no problem dictating the possession of actual living tissue inside fifty-one percent of the populace.
Oh, and although the American People are all for drilling for oil or wiping out forests to build Walmarts, it's not so cut and dry if it is taking place across the street. In both cases we have a "We're against it, but..." and a "We're all for it, but..." issues continuously presented as one solution to please the American People
Another excellent and more pressing illustration is the National Health Care issue. Like Social Security, Medicare, Education, and other mass government-run entitlements, there is at first an opposing yammer of "socialism" or "tyranny". Then, after it is instituted, whether it works or not, it's a Third Rail, an untouchable "right" of the American People. First the American People are against it, and then once they have it, the American People fight like rabid dogs to keep it. In most circles this would be called schizophrenic behavior, in more select ones, fucking hypocrisy.
Then there is the case of the American People not realizing who is among the counted, as in every possible Gay Rights issue known to us.
Right now there is a congressional hearing going on to determine if it is unlawful to deny members of the United States military, which is of course apprised of American People, their right to be openly gay.
This is spectacularly asinine in several fascinating ways, not the least of which being that whilst engaged in military service American People are no longer considered "civilian", and thus their normal everyday distinctions as woman or man, black or white, poor or privileged, etc, no longer apply. The idea of an army of one is an Army of One. This accounts for the similarity in haircuts and uniform, not to mention a singular code of decorum. The individual aspects of the American People are stripped from them, including determining the worth of a soldier by where he/she places his/her privates in any given act of coitus.
But that's nothing compared to the outrage of debating the rights of an government employee's individual rights while completely ignoring those of the American People who happen to also make up our homosexual citizenry. This is not only the proverbial "cart before the horse" as much as it is "the contents of the cart before the cart is even assembled". Never mind the goddamned horse.
So, okay, we're agreed? The American People do not want national health insurance just assuredly as the American People crave it. The American People include the entirety of the American People regardless of sexual or political preference. Therefore we conclude unequivocally to never dump the American People on the American People again.
© James Campion Feb 6th 2010
READERS RESPONSES Feb 14th 2010
There are three problems with this article. HEALTH CARE FINALE
1. The Dems have the majority; they can pass the Health Care bill without the Repubs.
2. I wouldn't call 52.7% of the vote a mandate. You're talking 6 million voters, like dead people, Mickey Mouse and whatever else Acorn could dream up. Oh yeah, and don't forget the Black Panther party in Philly intimidating voters.
3. The Legend of Obama is NOT Hardcorrrrrre!!!
It has become painfully clear that our paradigms have long since expired. Even as more and more of us -- even some political and industrial leaders have started using Twitter (could you possibly have chosen a more chaotic or irrelevant technology vector? I think not), almost everyone with noticeable influence and/or media access is trying to prevent the future from happening.
It's way too late for that. The world has, for the most part, changed right under our feet. What little change remains to complete the transformation is as inevitable as the follow through at the end of the swing of a baseball bat. The impact has already happened. The ball has launched and we are watching its arc, about to peak, and the people in charge actually believe they can at least alter its flight. Some think they can bring it back, or perhaps the ball will foul out to the left or right, or be caught by an outfielder.
Nope. This is a grand slam homer, right down the middle. No matter where you're sitting, or if you're watching the game on TV, even if all you've got is a tiny transistor radio with dying batteries and poor reception, it's obvious to everyone but those with excessive money and/or power.
Their vested interests were created in a different world. That world is gone. Forever.
So the only thing left to do is to throw tantrums and to name enemies and fight, with words, with pictures, and, of course, with guns and bombs.
I'm certain that this period in history will be understood as one dominated by formerly reasonable adults, acting like spoiled children because that which they thought they were entitled to, in perpetuity, is gone.
Love this line -- "a mass filibuster on "All-Things Obama" from Republicans." That makes about as much sense as saying the Washington Generals always give the Harlem Globetrotters a run for their money. Last I checked the Dems don't need jack shit from the Republicans to get anything passed so their pissing and moaning about Republican non-cooperation is just a bunch of hot air meant to snow the easily distracted among us (aka every sucker who voted for Obama, Mr. Cheesecloth Resume) from the glaring fact that they can't scrape together a coalition of their own to decide when to take a dump no less pass legislation that will most definitely be an albatross around this country's neck for years to come.
And let's get our history straight -- Reagan's expansionist policies were enacted as a CURE for the recession of '80-'82, not the cause of, which squarely belongs on shoulders of the blandest US President of all time Jimmy Carter. Hey you want to go around believing the sky is green be my guest, but it's fucking blue. You want healthcare scare tactics? There's plenty of that coming from the proponent's side, or haven't you been listening?
As for the whole healthcare debate, hell even our political system in general, the trenchant-minded economist Thomas Sowell nailed the inescapable reality of it all - "The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics."
"...the Republican negation ploy has served to stall what is unquestionably the closest the United States has come to sweeping National Health Care Reform, angering many Liberals and frightening away Independents in droves."
What planet are you living on? Independents are flocking from the left as fast as they can according to all the latest polls. Independents voted for a moderate center-left Obama and got a far-left ideologue and are running away in droves.
Man am I pissed at the government for blowing up our national debt on entitlement programs, like I was plenty pissed when we wasted money on Homeland Security and expanding Medicare beyond all measure of understanding. I only wish the same Democrats who were pissed with me then would be just as pissed as I still am and all those Republicans who ignored the Bush payouts were half as pissed then as they are now.
Angry Dan Pasquiloni
As usual, you are right on the money about "the new guy". (BARACK OBAMA'S AMERICA: YEAR ONE) This is the place I go for sober reasoning, as insane as that sounds, since you normally and to great effect use anything but sober reasoning. But when both sides get going it sounds like a bunch of braying sheep just regurgitating the usual "talking points". You bring The Real to such an important and historical moment for us all, and for that Reality Check is always a MUST READ.
"What the new guy is not is a New Politician. He is the same one we have seen before, making the same mistakes and settling on the same hard decisions that don't always jibe with the far-reaching, inspirational sonnet of the 'outsider'. And in the end, which is only the beginning, Barack Obama's America: Year One may have taught us a lesson we already knew deep down: twelve months does not a term make."
Nicely summed up & no real disagreement from me except the last sentence ... what we already knew deep down is that he was not going to have the balls to follow through on all the major changes he called for - as you yourself pointed out. I don't think that'll change in the next four years and I'm terrified of the Republican candidate he'll run against ... because I don't think he's a two-term president.
You are unbelievable! Your column seems like it was written in Cloud Cuckoo-Land.
Obama's first year has been failure upon failure. First he lies to the American People about how if we don't pass stimulus, the American Economy may never recover and unemployment will not go above 8%. Oops, it is 10.2% after stimulus and now the lie is stimulus kept unemployment from going even higher than the 10.2 it is currently at. Well how can that be when you said it wouldn't go above 8%?
Then he refuses to call it the "War On Terror" while during his first year he has the Arkansas Recruiting Station shooting, Fort Hood shooting and the Fruit of The Boom bomber. He claims we can't rush to judgment...well except if you're a Cambridge cop and then you acted "stupidly".
You talk about Obama's great moves in Afghanistan...except most of the world's terror plots are coming out of Africa in places like Sudan and Somalia. Not to mention he short shrifted the general's Afghan troop request in his attempt to dance both sides of the fence.
On to healthcare, it was doomed from the start. Oh, that is not to say it won't pass. There are enough line-toeing Democrats to pass it. Retribution will come in November when they are all cast from Congress in what will be massive punishment at the polls over their "governing against the will of the people" healthcare vote.
Obama could never overcome the fact that a majority of the American People like the coverage they have now and do not want government intruding in it, yet they push on. How can you praise these people while skewering Republicans for doing far less in terms of poor governing or legislating?
This, James, is an Imperial Congress. Completely governing against the will of the people and it is that cause precisely that has caused the rise of TEA Party movement. Oh and in your liberal blindness, you lump everyone together "TEA Party/"Birther". Sorry man, I don't buy into conspiracy bullshit, I do support getting government out of my wallet. If the left put down their copy of Saul Alinsky's book and actually took a look around, you will see the TEA Party is truly defending America and her financial future.
Nice column James...you just had a few things wrong. Glad to help.
Barack Obama's America: Year One
The moment Barack Obama raised his hand to swear his oath as leader of the free world, there was change
The Ghost of Free Market Past
How Ayn Rand's Individualist Orthodoxy Spirits The New Right
Health Care Finale
The Clock is ticking for Democrats. Can they get something done?
Mr Brown Goes to Washington
How The Bluest State Threw Up The Red Stop Light On Health Care