On Sunday evening, I went to visit the Ethiopian family who live in my apartment complex. I haven't seen them in awhile, but I was curious to hear their thoughts on the health care reform bill. It so happens that they have cable TV and Martha was watching it. Her two young sons (6 and 2) were busy playing and her husband came home from work shortly after I stopped by. I was surprised that they offered me a meal, as I wasn't expecting one so late in the evening.
We watched the votes come in on C-SPAN and when the magic number was reached (216), we cheered. The end vote came down to 219 to 212. The Health Care Reform Act has finally passed, after much back and forth, horse trading, and teabag nonsense. This is an historic occasion, as President Obama has finally achieved what every single Democratic president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt had wanted. Granted, its not a perfect bill (no Public Option, for instance; and much of it will be phased in over a several year span), but I'm of the "pass it now, fix it later" school of politics. Many improvements to our society have come about because of incremental changes. Despite outcries from the right, the passage of this bill is not a sign that America is officially a socialist country with government-run universal health care a la France, Great Britain and Canada. But it certainly is a huge step for our country in the right direction. Insurance providers can no longer deny coverage to patients based on pre-existing conditions, loss of job, or having already used up one's allocated expenses (particularly those with reoccurring cancer treatments).
Martha was in agreement with me in that she believes most of the credit for the passage of this bill goes to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It shows her incredible leadership to get wayward Democrats to vote for this bill, as some were hesitating for one reason or another (many of them blue dogs in Republican-leaning districts who have a target on their backs for November's elections). In the end, every single Republican member of Congress voted against the bill, while quite a few Democrats also voted against the bill. The voting only reminds me of why the Democrats are better than Republicans. Republicans usually vote party line. You rarely see dissenting votes on the Republican side. During the Bush years, the Republican-controlled Congress merely rubber-stamped his agenda. With Democrats, you actually get a debate, with some Democrats voting against the party's position. It shows how incredibly diverse the Democratic Party is. Do we even need a Republican Party anymore? With Democrats, you naturally get checks and balances. Take the recent example with Congressman Massa, who resigned after allegations that he sexually harassed his male staff members. Republican politicians don't resign, for the most part, when faced with allegations or scandals. The voters basically have to toss them out to get them out of power.
On Facebook, I lost yet another "friend" when a conservative "de-friended" me after not liking one of my political comments. He even asked if I ever say anything "fresh" on my FB wall. Interesting that he asked that of me, when a mutual friend of ours, Aaron, posts the same anti-tax, anti-government comments on his FB wall for months. I guess when you agree with someone, even the stale same old, same old appears "fresh", but an opinion you dislike seems "stale." I replied that this guy was not my only friend on Facebook, so he was free not to read what I post. Really. How hard is it to ignore someone's comments on Facebook? One former Navy buddy of mine is a major atheist activist and he posts at least ten article links a day that implicate religious hypocrisy. I don't have time to read everything he posts, nor am I interested in everything he posts to his Facebook wall. It just amazes me that conservatives can't seem to tolerate being exposed to a different point of view. That's why they only watch Fox or the talking heads like Glenn Beck. They aren't interested in anything new or anything that challenges their thinking. They want to be indoctrinated in their ideology. And that's a problem, because anyone who studies history knows the communists in the Soviet Union were so blinded by their ideology that they did not want see that their economy was not working by the mid-1980s. With the visionary Gorbachev, a committed communist who wasn't a blind ideologue, he tried to fix the problems of their ideology, but it was too late.
We also know from the example of the disasterous Bush administration that all their blind ideology failed to produce a successful presidency. From the lack of WMDs in Iraq to the ignoring of terrorist threats before 9/11 to the mishandling of post-Katrina New Orleans, the ideologues in the Republican Party thought that weakening the government and allowing corporations to run society would make America shine like some Reagan Capitalist Utopia. Instead, we got Hooverville redux. That's blind ideology for you.
My dad recently told me that my mother went to eat at some lady from church's house and was told by the evangelical lady who had de-friended me from Facebook last year that I had made "toxic anti-Christian comments." How Christian of this lady to tell lies to my own mother! I was ticked when my dad told me. My parents are the type to think that the reason for my "unpopularity" is because I'm always saying the wrong thing that offends (Southern, conservative) ladies. They see it all the time. Women getting offended by my honesty. Too bad. The evangelical lady is wrong. She truly believes that Bush, Cheney, and Palin are holy, righteous, and the ideal Christian we should just allow to have uncontrolled access to power without ever questioning their motives. This evangelical lady is nice and she's incredibly spiritual. But her politics are toxic because she's a die hard Republican who believes that the Democratic party is evil, corrupt, and aligned with Satan's agenda. I feel sorry for people like her, though. Her "Christian" faith blinds her from the reality that the Republican Party has co-opted the Christian values the way Satan tried to pull the wool over Jesus' eyes by offering the world in exchange for obedience to the horned one.
What good is it to be a Christian if you are blind to the cynical deceptions of the people you trust? The people who speak so easily of Jesus being their favourite political philosopher or that God advocated war in Iraq? Jesus had warned his followers more than 2,000 years ago that there would be many false prophets that would claim him, but in order to find their validity, spiritual people needed to analyze what is said with the actual actions (what is done). When the words and deeds don't match, when there is bad fruit coming forth from the false prophet, we would know. There's a lot of reasons why I strongly dislike evangelical Christians, but their support of the corporate capitalists, robber barons, and powerful elite who lack any spirituality is the biggest reason of all. These are all the people Jesus would have rebelled against. I make no apology if this view offends...for I'll say it again: if you are a so-called Christian who sides with people who profit from the death of others through war, corporate profits, and "I got mine so fuck you" politics, you don't know shit about Jesus. Thus, you have no right to preach to any of us who favour fairer policies that level the playing field in society.
Someday, in the spiritual realm, I want to be present when these evangelical teabaggers learn just how deeply they've been duped by their leaders and their party. Democrats don't talk a lot about religion or spirituality, because its viewed as a private thing. No party is perfect, but in example after example, the Democrats prove that they care deeply about governing, that they want government to work for the good of all (not just the few). This health care reform bill is yet another example. This is why I'm proud to be a Democrat. On the issues that matter most, Democrats have fought hard for the right policies.
For those who love blatant irony, what can you say about a party that gave us nothing but Bush, Colin, Dick, DeLay, and a Boehner? Sounds like the only thing they had in mind was for us to bend over while they screw us for everything we've got. Here's hoping that the Health Care Reform Act will prove to be a popular piece of legislation that causes even more Republican defeats in Congress this November. Its kind of interesting to note that differences between the parties. The Republicans voted for war seven years ago, in which trillions of dollars have been spent destroying two nations. The Democrats voted to give more Americans a fairer health care system that won't bankrupt people if they have a health crisis. Which policy do you think Jesus would favour? I wish Republican Evangelical Christians would wake up to reality. They are not doing Jesus any favours by siding with the party that worships the golden calf (or elephant?).
About those conservative de-frienders on Facebook...yeah, I seem to lose a few each time I post a political comment. I guess they are too weak to deal with an opposing viewpoint. Well, good riddance to ya. I'm not interested in ideology. I'm only interested in what works. And if I know anything at all, its that trickle-down economics DOES NOT WORK. Time to try something else.