Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dickens was right...

I'm reading Charles Dickens' wicked-smart satire on poverty, riches and imprisonment, Little Dorrit. I confess it was because we caught an episode on PBS. Dickens also makes some very pertinent allusions to government. And what strikes me is how close they are to home right now! For example, there's this passage: "But, Precedent and Precipitate were, under all circumstances, the well-matched pair of battle-horses of this able Circumlocutionist. No matter that the unhappy honorable gentleman had been trying in vain, for twenty-five years, to precipitate William Barnacle into this - William Barnacle still put it to the House, and (at second-hand or so) to the country, whether he was to be precipitated into this. No matter that it was utterly irreconcileable with the nature of things and course of events, that the wretched honorable gentleman could possibly produce a Precedent for this - William Barnacle would nevertheless thank the honorable gentleman for that ironical cheer, and would close with him upon that issue, and would tell him to his teeth that there was NO Precedent for this. It might perhaps have been objected that the William Barnacle wisdom was not high wisdom, or the earth it bamboozled would never have been made, or, if made in a rash mistake, would have remained blank mad. But, Precedent and Precipitate together frightened all objection out of most people." (Little Dorrit, p. 427-428) Change "William Barnacle" to "Republicans" and you have the current uproar over health care reform. Republicans continue to tell us - using their usual tactics of Fear and Smear - that if health care is truly "reformed" that that's code for "socialized medicine" and "government run medicine." Hearken back to Ronald Reagan with Medicare reform wherein he posited that "one day, doctors will no longer be allowed to live in your town." An early example of "If you can't convince them with truth, baffle 'em with bull...." I'm happy to see that some Democrats are coming to their senses. The government already runs several healthcare programs: the program for active duty military; Medicaid; Medicare; the VA. And in many cases, the people who use these programs are just fine. Of course, there are problems. I don't believe it's endemic to the government running the program. It's endemic to PEOPLE being involved. What's wrong is that in this country, we have 47 million uninsured Americans. What's wrong is that according to the World Health Organization, we rank 37th in the world for health care. Columbia is above us. That should make every flag-waving Republican proud. A nation known to "disappear" people, murder missionaries, kill at random in vicious turf wars of drug lords. They're a couple notches higher than we are in health care. I would urge you to THINK. I would urge you to RESEARCH. And I would urge you to not swallow the "truth" as you read it until you've looked at it from a couple of different directions.

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