Tag: pessimism

Health Care: The Definition of Success is Failure

long term accutane use The political news streaming out of Washington, at least as reported by the major outlets, already casts a large, ominous shadow promising nothing but inevitable disappointment and tension headaches.  By strong implication, the ultimate effect produced no matter what health care bill is passed by both chambers and then signed into law will be that of bitterest disappointment.  The irony, however, is that no matter the outcome, whatever results from negotiation and finds its way onto President Obama’s desk will be deemed either insufficient or detrimental in the minds of both liberals, moderates, and conservatives alike.  I suppose I was of the silly opinion that success had many fathers while failure was an orphan.  That a bill so desperately needed could be so reviled, rather than revered upon enactment, (and, need I mention, years before it will even be fully implemented and tested for effectiveness) speaks to how we seem to judge winning and losing these days.

price viagra As Paul Simon wrote,

go Laugh about it

Shout about it,

When you’ve got to choose,

Every way you look at it, you lose.

comprare viagra generico a Parma Regardless of one’s political allegiance, the Health Care Reform bill will be rightly deemed beneficial or detrimental when it is more or less fully integrated into the existing system.  It is at that point, which might be as long as five whole years from now that we will be able to make a credible judgment for ourselves as to whether or not it works.  Until then, we are merely gaming on probabilities and resorting to that eternal bane of every cagey politician:  speculating about hypotheticals.  Although hammering out the intent of the bill is highly necessary, our fiercest criticisms should be saved for much later down the road.  My thoughts now pivot to the words of the Civil War historian Shelby Foote, who, when discussing his opinion as to the root cause of that divisive conflict, stated,

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“We failed to do the thing we have a true genius for, compromise.  Americans like to think of themselves as uncompromising but it’s the basis of our democracy, our government is founded on it; it failed.”

http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=levitra-originale-online-garanzia To highlight another current issue, some are already pronouncing the stimulus package either an outright failure or a disappointment, but the truth of the matter is that its impact is simply not as bombastic and instantly transformative as many of us were expecting.  A vast majority of the funds have not yet even been dispersed or spent and many others are tied up in bureaucratic red tape.  The lesson to be learned is that government works very slowly, it is heavily indebted to the status quo, and that no matter what promises of change are made, one must work within the established parameters of the system.  This does not mean, however, that in seeking massive reform that we had unrealistic expectations going into it.  Ideals are the only way that anything gets formulated and brought to the floor.  

follow url Change will come to Washington, but the pace is not proportional to our anticipation of it.  We live in a lightning-quick, impulsive, short-attention span world fed by media but this is absolutely nothing like the world in which our elected representatives dwell.  Most people I know find C-SPAN to be an effective anti-insomnia cure and not edge-of-one’s-seat entertainment.  One of my friends chose to study international politics rather than American politics because in other countries, one was apt to see scenes of excitement and upheaval on a frequent basis:  coup d’etats, violence in the streets, huge rallies, transparent espionage, and moments of high drama.  In recent memory, with the notable exception of the 1960’s, one rarely observes such things here, and even then the unrest didn’t reach the fevered pitch of say, the Prague Spring.  By contrast, we are indebted to the example of our English forebearers whose one and only revolution produced a short-term attempt at Parliamentary democracy, an equally short-lived de facto military dictatorship, and then a prompt re-establishment of the monarchy, albeit with a few democratic concessions granted to English citizens.  Our own revolution did not, quite unlike the French, take on a radical component that attempted to sweep aside almost all established conventions in the process.                  

canadian drugstore online pharmacy brand propecia Some are quick to pronounce Americans as either center-right or center-left, but I think center by itself would suffice.  Most people, if asked, would probably identify themselves as moderate.  We are a centrist nation, by in large, and one which looks upon both unabashed liberal strains and conservative strains with a great degree of suspicion.  Our fear of radicalism and/or reactionary elements is hardwired into our DNA.  Most Americans are not inclined to march in the streets or to take on activist roles.  Being left alone to their own devices might be the attitude of a vast majority.  Regarding health care, what will probably be signed into law will be a slightly left-leaning proposal that contains concessionary measures to moderates while preserving a few key demands of liberals.  Love it or hate it, this is just how Democracy functions within a pluralistic society.  When Mussolini took control of Italy as a dictator, the saying goes, the trains ran on time like never before, but then again, the barrel of a gun has a persuasive power that an attack ad never does.    

http://cinziamazzamakeup.com/?x=acquistare-viagra-online-generico-50-mg-a-Bologna Lest one think otherwise, I don’t want to seem as though I’m happy with accepting crumbs when promised a lavish dinner.  Certain elements of the House bill really trouble me, particularly the anti-abortion amendment tacked onto it as a means of placating anti-choice legislators.  Still, the place for changing minds and disseminating ideological stances is ours, not theirs.  The role of the politician is, as stated, to best represent the beliefs of his/her constituency.  If our stated duty is enlightening and educating the ignorant, then we might take this huge flap over health care as a reference point of where we need to allocate our resources and the strategies we propose to use to accomplish it.  We are not immune to the need for reform, either, and though we might make a living off of rocking other peoples’ boats, we need someone to rock our own every so often, too.    

The “Civil” Wars

An article written in today’s Washington Post posits whether or not the foul-mouthed chorus of immature slights and sharp elbows that characterizes an internet world shows a new degree of rudeness or whether said dialogue merely reflects a new awareness of the democratic insult.  I myself received an tremendous amount of hateful, childish comments when a few seconds of the iReport I posted online to CNN was chosen for broadcast and aired on the network itself.  What I had been attempting to convey in my talk were the many complexities of the life of Ted Kennedy, but what I quickly noticed were that the personal attacks I received did not even come close to directly addressing what I said.  No one was really listening to or even contemplating my words, rather they just wanted to vent.  I think the most bizarre and gratuitous insult I received was the poster who told me to “comb [my] f__king hair”.      

For all the debate and the analysis, true civility might very well be an ideal rather than a reality.  The instant feedback and information deluge of our internet age gives us the realization that human discourse provides us equal, ample evidence of every conceivable shade of good and bad.  Nowadays, we often believe we live in the worst of all possible worlds.   A pessimistic approach does not provide much in the way of comforting, helpful answers, but neither does the kind of radical optimism rightly savaged by Voltaire in Candide.   As the article addresses, looking into the past to find evidence of a time where the trains always ran on time, every imaginable need was cheap and readily available, and people treated each other with courtesy and respect is wistful nostalgia for times that never really were.  

Mary Schmich’s opinion column entitled “Advice, Like Youth, Probably Just Wasted on the Young” includes this bit of advice.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

There have been as many pronouncements that society is on the brink of self-destruction as there have been prophetic sureties of the imminent Second Coming of Christ or the End of the World according to calendars of ancient indigenous peoples.   The Post story addresses how the conservative pitchfork rabble falsely accused a DC area author and government worker of having some secret connection to the now infamous rap song, recorded in a New Jersey school over the summer by students, the lyrics of which dared to praise the President.   The unfortunate subject of this massive knee-jerk, Charisse Carney-Nunes, voices how many of us feel when subjected to another pitched volley of irrationality hurled at us by an army of plate glass window-smashing malcontents.            


Carney-Nunes spends a lot of her free time teaching children how to bridge divides, but she has no idea how to build a dialogue with those who attacked her.

“How can I talk to those people?” she said. “These are people who persist in believing that Barack Obama is a Muslim, that he isn’t a citizen of this country. You tell me: Where is the beginning of that conversation?”

Contentious times produce contentious disagreements.   We still believe, as did those who shaped this nation, in a liberal line of logic that insists, provided enough education, people can become self-aware, rational beings.   The flaws in this argument are particularly glaring now, when education alone, or as the Right likes to call it, indoctrination, seems to be insufficient in the face of emotional excess.   From a distance, it is interesting to observe the internal conflict within many people now up in arms over something that shows itself whenever passions are overheated.  As though at war with both hemispheres of their brain, they bounce back and forth from uncivilized raw emotion to some degree of civilized restraint.  That they themselves seem incapable of recognizing this is problem enough.  


“Completely false allegations incubate in the fringe and jump within days to the mainstream, distorting any debate or progress we can have as a society,” said Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which released a report last month noting a rise in the “militia movement” over the past year. “What’s different is that a great deal of this is real fear and frustration at very real demographic and cultural changes.”  

I believe that we are on the right side of history and that our cause is just and good.   Yet, I resist strongly the temptation to gloat or to condescendingly dismiss those who fear that reform, any reform, means destruction and that change, when enacted, can never be undone.  Being snide and condescending only makes matters worse.   Every meaningful conservative has one foot in the past and values the sanctity of the status quo.   But as we have seen, merely returning to old ways does not provide simple solutions.  The past is too messy and composed of too many ironies to be anyone’s Golden Age, either for us or for them.   We ought to take the lessons of the past as they are, without smoothing away its rough edges or glossing over the bits that don’t serve our purpose.  The Past, in its pure form, has no bias to Left or Right.  It can be frequently be instructive, so long as we know that it calls us out as much as it calls out our opposition.    

Returning to the subject of common decency or the lack thereof,  driving much of this conservative grassroots backlash is the reality that this nation will soon consist of an ethnic and racial plurality, and many on the Right fear that balancing authority among separate identity groups, each with its own cultural peculiarities and goals, will lead to disunion and strife.   Pat Buchanan and others have advanced this argument before and I fully expect to see more instances of it as the Caucasian majority in this country begins to slowly, but surely recede.  We portray these people as foolish or intent on selfishly benefiting from a sense of white privilege and entitlement at our own peril.  Fighting fire with fire in this instance is the surest way to eventually cause an inferno.  Anyone with an itchy trigger finger is merely looking for a reason to pull it.  And as for us, any self-contained group does an excellent job of talking to itself, but finding a way to know how to converse with the broader universe is the key challenge.  Much of our discourse could be rightly described as choir practice, which is good to some extent, but we would probably be better served by developing ways to speak to the vast majority of Americans who do not embrace the politics of the conservative nutroots.