Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Pouring Out Some Diet Coke for You, Homes....

I hate to admit this but I remember, as a child, that certain family members from a certain side of my family always made cheap jokes or openly booed and hissed when any member of the Kennedy family was shown on the news. If it was John Kennedy, there was some reference to Marilyn Monroe (the irony being that the family member in question has yet to master fidelity himself) and I dared not even speak the name Ted Kennedy for fear of the onslaught of insults and venom that would be unleashed. When I was about 10 or 11 and started becoming interested in politics and started kind of forming my own ideas, I remembered that we learned all about this John F. Kennedy guy in class and we had gone to where some mean guy shot him. So I started reading books about JFK and then RFK and eventually became interested in the sordid, tragic and compelling story of the entire Kennedy clan.

When this family member found out about my interest in the Kennedys, I was ridiculed for my admiration of any member of the Camelot. I was told horror stories about things that the family did. They drank, cheated on their wives and went to a Congressional costume parties dressed as Barney the Dinosaur with a nametag that read “Tyrannosaurus Sex”, which probably actually solidified my love for Ted Kennedy. It was the first time I actually remember thinking, “But I admire this person and he has done great things and why can’t I have a political opinion without being ridiculed for it?” I’d hear the mentions of Chappaquiddick over and over again. It was kind of a foreshadowing for the people who can negate Bill Clinton’s ability to bring Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin together to talk and shake on a peace agreement or him continuing to be able to do things like negotiate the release of two American journalists held hostage in North Korea instead of retiring to Preston Hollow by just saying “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” or mentioning a cigar and snickering.

Ted Kennedy died today and, while it wasn’t a surprise, it really made me sad. We all knew he had brain cancer. I didn’t think he would make it this long. But of all the times when we need a Ted Kennedy, of all the times when we need to put aside partisanship and fear for the sake of helping the country’s working class…well, it’s right now. With all the boogeyman talk of Death Panels and compromises on public options, I hope and pray that someone will pick up the torch that Ted Kennedy would have carried. If your memory is failing to recall all the things that Ted Kennedy championed during his nearly 50-year political career, let me jog your memory. I get teary when I start to think about the fact that, despite the progress we have made in the past year, the fear-mongering, uninformed and paranoid-email-forwarding idiots could ruin the greatest shot we’ve got at a national health care system that provides for all citizens, not just the lucky ones.

So in memory of Ted Kennedy, who was able to put aside left or right allegiance to try to help the poor, disenfranchised and disabled, I want to give major, major props to John McCain. I understand that he is following his party line and that he probably genuinely has misgivings about Obama’s health care plan. But these absurd town hall meetings have not been, by and large, about debating the pros and cons of the proposed health care program. They have been about screaming and packing heat and telling seniors to go rent Logan’s Run. So when John McCain stands up to town hall meeting attendees by reminding them that a) there is no booing in civil discourse (House of Commons being the glaring exception) and b) that Obama is the president, he is not trying to sidestep or violate the Constitution and he deserves respect, I give a hearty tip of the hat to McCain.

It’s so funny to me that this Death Panel hocus-pocus seems to really be sticking. My 80 year old grandmother would probably volunteer to go up before the non-existent Death Panel. She’s been telling us that she “probably won’t be around much longer” for almost a decade now. Every time I go to her house, she gives me yet another household item like some sort of drawn-out Estate sale. The irony is, of course, that her mother spent 20 years claiming that she wasn’t gonna be around much longer either until she passed away just shy of 100. In fact, my grandmother’s insistence in her own eminent demise is the biggest reason I haven’t had to buy kitchenware, luggage or scarves as yet in my adult life. Maybe she just voted for Obama to get in the front of the line for the Socialist Death Panels?


Alan said...

Sadly, this was overshadowed today, for me, by the death of the great Ellie Greenwich.

tommysauras rex said...

am I the only one that thinks death panels would actually be a good idea? maybe Obama should work them in to his plan, since the idots seem to think it's there already

Grandpa Walton said...

Speaking of family members, "Too Close For Comfort?" gets explored on the Diane Rehm show tomorrow.

Goodnight, Amanda.

Grandpa Walton said...

An interesting prognostication,

beginning with:

"Forget the public option. Whatever the merits, and they are few, it is political poison. It dies by the Liasson Logic, the unassailable observation by NPR's Mara Liasson that there are no liberal Democrats who will lose their seats if the public option is left out, while there are many moderate Democrats who could lose their seats if the public option is included."

and proceeding to:

"And here's what makes it so politically seductive: The end result is the liberal dream of universal and guaranteed coverage -- but without overt nationalization. It is all done through private insurance companies. Ostensibly private. They will, in reality, have been turned into government utilities. No longer able to control whom they can enroll, whom they can drop and how much they can limit their own liability, they will live off government largess -- subsidized premiums from the poor; forced premiums from the young and healthy."

Whether and who the final "catch" (not quoted above) outlined at the end of the article catches and to what extent remains to be seen, but it bears remarkable structural resemblance to the situation today that reform is being declared necessary to remedy.

Goodnight, Amanda