Saturday, September 12, 2009
I guess you could say that Sheila and I are rōnin for health care reform. Rōnin literally means "wave man". The term originated in Japan when it referred to a serf who had fled or deserted his master's land. It then came to be used for a samurai who had lost his master. Sheila and I have no particular affiliations, just a strong affinity for justice and an extreme distaste for bullshit. Sheila has been going to everyone of these Town Halls this summer and has been kicked around by non other than Rush Limbaugh himself. She and her family have been attacked by right wing bloggers nationwide.
At the Town Meeting today,Sheila took on Barney for not supporting what he says he believes in - single payer plan, and she was the main mover in getting us to the event in time, as luck would have it, to be interviewed. Sheila is the brains of our rōnin team.
Yesterday, seems the right wing droids were all in DC so a rational discussion broke out. Take a look in the video above.
A friend in Raging Grannies from RI gave us some good questions for the right wing "astroturfed grassroots" :
" Why are you mad NOW?
You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.
You didn't get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy.
You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.
You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.
You didn't get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.
You didn't get mad when we spent over 600 billion (and counting) on that illegal war.
You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq.
You didn't get mad when you saw the Abu Grahib photos.
You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.
You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.
You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.
You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.
You didn't get mad when we let a major US city drown.
You didn't get mad when the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark.
You finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans... oh hell no!"
Too bad you weren't there:
We went to another town hall meeting and we were very glad we did. Along with some lovely octogenarians, we were some of the only people with signs and all our signs in support of HR 676 and single payer/medicare for all. Every person who walked by us said they agreed with us. We also had a chance to raise some real questions, in public debate, about what is going on around health care reform.
So where were the whack jobs wanting to save poor granny from the death panel ? Had they all gone to DC with the "teabaggers"? All 20K of them, nationwide? And the La-La LaRouche folk? Wither have they gone? In DC too?
So,today we had a discussion of health care reform actually about...wait for it...health care reform. And why is this not bigger news? After all, Barney said HR 676 could not pass (Medicare for All) because of the widespread fear of big government in the country. Huh? And then he was very rude to my friend Sheila when she pushed him to answer a very good question: Why there was not more visible support from Democrats for Medicare for All? Barney's answer included this story:
A Jewish mother was much distressed over the problem of her young son who was afraid to eat kreplach. She took the boy to a Rabbi for consultation. After hearing the case, the rabbi said, "Now, Madam, this is very simple. Take the boy home, take him out into the kitchen, and show him how kreplach are made. This should probably eliminate the condition.Hopefully the mother followed the rabbi advice. On the kitchen table she put out a small square of dough beside which was a small mound of prepared chopped meat. "Now," she said, "there is nothing here you should mind." The lad beamed and nodded encouragingly. The mother then put the meat in the center of the dough and folded over one corner. The boy smiled and all seemed to be going well. She folded over the second corner and the third. The boy was nodding, and the experiment seemed to be progressing most favorably. Then she folded over the fourth and final corner; whereupon the boy jumped up and said "Oy, KREPLACH !" and ran screaming from the table.
Barney used this to show why he could not get the votes in Congress to pass HR 676 - He said that "People are too afraid of big government in health care..." to move HR 676 forward. I say he missed the point of our questions about why the Democratic party has not pushed for real reform.
What is happening is not analogous with the story he repeated above. The important story is that there are forces in the media who are pointing to kreplach and saying,
" THIS KREPLACH IS MADE WITH THE MEAT OF GRANNIES KILLED BY DEATH PANELS AND SERVED IN A SAUCE OF GOVERNMENT FUNDED ABORTED FETUSES!"
The right wing lies about health care reform are every bit as disgusting and evil as the dccc and Democratic Party response has been feeble, late and half hearted.
Barney, shrugging his shoulders with a "Nu - what do you want from me working with such idiots?" might be okay if the 1st story , with the rabbi mom and the boy is the story that is being acted out all over the country. BUT it is not. And the evil lies have taken root. Our party DOES have the power. Not to silence the lies but to dominate and crush them with a heavy dose of truth. What are the Dems waiting for? When will you step it up? And actually, it may be too late - so the other question is - "Nu, what kept you?" Did you really, as a party, want meaningful health care reform? Or just want to look like you want reform? Because, in reality, the Dem party is in the pockets of big pharma and insurance companies? These are the questions we will ask ourselves in NOV.
"We have one party that is severely compromised by its ties to big money, and another party that is just plain nuts." said Neal Gabler in the Globe op-ed today. As commentator Bill Maher said recently, when will the President and the Democrats "stand up for the 70 percent of Americans who aren't crazy?" Personally, I am not holding my breath. They should tho' and we should ask them to step it up - recent polls show that only 23% of Americans identify themselves as Republicans.
Q: When will the Democrats act like they have the power to make the changes they promised?
A: When we kick their butts and hold them to their word.
And we will have to because I believe all this media attention on the bogus " grassroots" opposition is a smoke screen behind which the Dem leaders have sold out the single payer AND public option. Hope I am wrong? We shall see.