- Another very nice friend of mine passed along one of those made up letters spelling the end of the world today. It was stupid on the face of it, but I still took the time to look up everything in the letter in the Congressional records to see if there was an ounce of truth or if it was just crazy hate-baiting talk. It proved to be crazy hate-baiting talk with no validity.
I’m so tired of people being mad at Obama after freaking 8 months in office. Jeez, Louise, you can’t even make a baby in that time, so how the freak does anyone think you can correct a blown-up economy, two illegal major wars, a corrupt system, education, poverty and all the rest? Heck, I’m hoping that in the next 8 months I’ll get around to cleaning my house, for goodness sake.
I wanted to respond when I was hot. But she’s a really smart lady and a very nice one and I don’t want her to hate me, so I waited a few hours, and then wrote this in response to her letter and her comment (privately) that she hates the idea of socialism, particularly as envisioned in the health care reform bills being bandied about.
Dear XXXXXX: Peter G here. You know, I’m thinking that this isn’t the first time you’ve sent one of these to me, and I’m thinking that you’re such a smart gal that I don’t quite understand why you’re taken in by this sort of nonsense. I don’t want to be rude–I love ya and think you’re the best, so go with me here–but I’m constantly surprised by what’s going around on the radio and on Fox network–owned by Murdoch, a conspiracy guy who demands that all of his people buy into his conspiracies–and in emails like this.
Obama hasn’t really done or even offered anything offensive yet. In the health bill, he’s basically offering to extend medicaid and telling families they’ll be obligated to enroll in it or something. But he didn’t write the bill, and I promise he’s as surprised and upset with it as most of us are. I’m a journalist, and as a free-lancer, I can get health insurance for my family, but good insurance will cost me over $20,000 a year right now. I only make $29,000 a year and have to support two households and five children plus my ex-wife on that. When I needed a major operation two years ago, I had to fly to Peru to get it, because the doctor here wanted $45,000, to start, and that didn’t include the hospital, the anesthesiologist or anything. In Peru it was just $4000 for everything except airfare, including living 8 days at my surgeon’s house.
So offering a government option–essentially medicare–on top of what’s already available, doesn’t seem to me to be any more socialism or anything else more than medicaid and medicare. And if socialism is the thing, let’s get rid of public schools, public libraries, public parks, public police and fire and sanitation departments, public works, public roads….heck, our country’s number one employer is already the federal and state governments. So maybe I’m wrong, but to offer me an insurance option as a self-employed person doesn’t sound bad to me. The alternative is to do what I now do: Go to the emergency room, and never pay the hospital anything but $20 a week. Which means tax payers, including myself, pay for me. And my mother-in-law’s $500,000 cancer bill, and my ex’s two new babies, and my son’s coming baby and all the rest. And we work. And we pay taxes. I’ve been paying them since I was six years old and reached the limit for social security–another socialist thing–more than ten years ago. So I’m not going to apologize for using hospitals now and then. Heck, the gov has been collecting from me for 52 of my 58 years. Still, I’d rather be able to pay $300 a month and feel square about it, and I could, if there was a public option to cover me and the millions more like me somewhere. (In New York from 1996 till 1999 I paid $1600 a month; $18,800 a year for our family medical insurance and never used a dime of it.) So I’m not frightened by the Rush Limbaugh idiots or the fruit case O’Reillys talking nonsense. The plan, at best, would be an extension of medicaid/medicare that people would pay into. Everything else would stay the same. No doctors would be asked to work for the plan if they didn’t want to, no nurses, no hospitals conscripted. That’s simply not in anybody’s plan. You have insurance? Cool. No? Here’s a couple of options, but you must be responsible and pay into one of the options. Personal responsibility. I’ve always liked that.
I’m not saying I’m with Obama on everything. I thought he’d be a lot stronger than he’s showing. Hell, Clinton sent missiles into the middle east about every two weeks (pretty much every time the press bashed him or he got an erection), just for the fun of killing civilians. I didn’t like that. But I thought Obama would have released all the non-violent federal drug criminals already and shut most of the prisons in the federal prison system. I thought he’d have gotten us out of at least one of Bush’s illegal wars by now. But then an old lefty like me lived through the Bush administration–the most corrupt (other than Reagan) administration in the modern history of the US. An administration that took the largest budget surplus in the history of the US ($3 trillion) and in 8 years turned it into the largest budget deficit ($3 trillion) in US history. An administration that gutted the Bill of Rights, allowing wiretaps at will, searches without warrants, even suggested personal national identification cards that we would all have to show whenever a cop asked us (even the republican congress and senate turned that one down), and tried to do away with the Posse Comatatus act that forbids US soldiers from fighting US citizens on US soil. An administration that blustered against illegal aliens but let more illegal aliens into the US in 8 years than any other administration in the history of the US. An administration that lied, knowingly, about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction to start a completely illegal and stupid war that’s cost 10,000 American lives, 100,000 Iraqi civilian lives, and tens of thousands of US servicemen and women crippled just to let that boy W try to prove to his dad he had a dick. An administration that created the No Child Left Behind act for schools which has set schools back 100 years because the only learning done from the first day of school to the last is studying for the tests–for which teachers get bonuses for good performance–rather than letting teachers actually teach. An administration that let Iran build the nuclear weapons it is now on the verge of having because it didn’t have the guts to stop them. An administration that helped orchestrate the complete collapse of the world economy, and more particularly, the US economy, leaving such a shambles that Obama was forced to authorize more than a trillion dollars to keep it floating rather than sinking into another great depression.
But you know what?
We survived that asshole. Just like we survived Reagan and Bush the dad. And you know what else? People on the right will survive our asshole, Obama. We are America. We are strong. We are jerks, we allow these people to get away with things that would have the rest of us rotting in prison for our lifetimes and more, but we will survive. We all got here by running away from horrid circumstances looking for a better life. You may have liked Bush. I think he ought to be made to work military hospitals for ten years. I think Cheney and Libby ought to have it worse. I liked Clinton. You may think he should have had his dick chopped off. Maybe. I like Obama. I hope he has the balls for the job. He’s got more smarts than anybody in recent history except Clinton–a freaking Fullbright scholar whether you liked him or not–and he knows the Constitution better than anyone alive (Part of the job of being editor in chief of the Harvard Law Review. Those who talk affirmative action can’t spell the word, and it certainly doesn’t apply to a brainiac like Obama). I’m just afraid he will back down to public pressure rather than telling people to go fuck themselves, like Reagan (who allowed the orchestration of all those coups in Latin and South America so we would have cheap factory workers and slave laborers making our shit), or Clinton or either of the Bush’s.
Carter I loved. Not a great president but a great great human. Ford I liked. Also a well meaning, decent man.
My point is the lefties survived the antics of Bush. The righties will probably survive the antics of Obama. Like David Byrne sang: “And the day goes on, still water runs deep; once in a lifetime, water flowing underground…”