When the first attempt by the United States to launch a satellite into orbit, in 1957, ended in disaster, did Democrats start to cheer, and unify to stop a space program in its infancy? Or, when Medicare got off to a confusing start, did Republicans of the mid-1960s wrap their entire political future around a campaign to deny government-run health care to the elderly?
Of course not. But for the entirety of the Obama era, Republicans have consistently been cheerleaders for failure. They rooted for the economic recovery to sputter, for gas prices to spike, the job market to crater, the rescue of the American automobile industry to fall apart.
I get it. This organized schadenfreude goes back to the dawn of Obama’s presidency, when Rush Limbaugh, later joined by Senator Mitch McConnell, said their No. 1 goal was for the president to fail. A CNN poll in 2010 found 61 percent of Republicans hoping Obama would fail (versus only 27 percent among all Americans).
Wish granted, mission accomplished. Obama has failed — that is, if you judge by his tanking poll numbers. But does this collapse in approval have to mean that the last best chance for expanding health care for millions of Americans must fail as well?
Does this mean we throw in the towel, and return to a status quo in which insurance companies routinely cancel policies, deny health care to people with pre-existing conditions and have their own death panel treatment for patients who reach a cap in medical benefits?
The Republican plan would do just that, because they have no plan but to crush the nation’s fledgling experiment.
But where were the news conferences, the Fox News alerts, the parading of people who couldn’t get their lifesaving cancer treatments under the old system? Where was the media attention when thousands of people were routinely dumped once they got sick? When did Republicans in Congress hold an oversight hearing on the leading cause of personal bankruptcy — medical debt?
All of that is what we had before. And all of that is what we will return to if some version of the Affordable Care Act is not made workable.
The plan is to allow those things that had been proposed over many years to reform a health care system in America that certainly does need more help so that there’s more competition, there’s less tort reform threat, there’s less trajectory of the cost increases? And those plans have been proposed over and over again. And what thwarts those plans? It’s the far left. It’s President Obama and his supporters who will not allow the Republicans to usher in free market, patient-centered, doctor-patient relationship links to reform health care!
This is my nephew. Just in case it escaped your attention, he is dressed as Belle from Beauty and the Beast.
Yesterday I was out for lunch with some of my family, including my nephew who I hadn’t seen for a few months. He was very excited to see me and I was him.
As soon as we sat in the restaurant, he started pulling out some princess figurines (which he had amusingly named Rihanna and Gaga), and he was explaining to me how beautiful they were. He told me he wished he could be as beautiful as them even though he was a boy.
This kind of comment was nothing new for him.
After we all started eating, I noticed he was facing away from us. He turned around with a tear rolling down his cheek and refused to say what was wrong. This was very out of character for him. He was usually so attention seeking and theatrical, and incredibly intelligent for his age.
After a while he put his head into his arms on the table and started crying a lot more. I leaned into him and asked what was wrong again.
He whispered really quietly to me “I don’t want to be weird.”
I responded to him saying “Weird? I’m weird. Weird is good, weird is different!”
"But I don’t want to be different, it’s wrong," he replied through tear-stained fingers.
Angry, I started “Let me tell you what’s wrong. You are five years old and people are already telling you what you should and shouldn’t say. Or what you should and shouldn’t wear. You’re crying because somebody decided what boys are supposed to do and what girls are supposed to do, and nobody should differ from that. Well, let me tell you a little something about normal…
It used to be normal to laugh at people because they had different coloured skin. It used to be normal to bully somebody if they were a boy and they loved another boy, or a girl who loved another girl. It used to be normal to pick on someone for being too fat or too skinny. It used to be normal to pick on different, and the worst part is that a lot of that stuff is still going on.
Why would you want to be normal, you’re extraordinary! If anybody tells you that you can’t be a beautiful princess, you put on that fucking dress because you are beautiful and you are a little weird, but nobody normal ever made a fucking bit of difference in the world. You wear whatever the hell you want, and like whatever the hell you like, because it’s people like you that are going to make a real, lasting change.
The world needs a lot more weird and a lot less normal.”
And he understood exactly what I meant. He lunged in for a hug and kissed me on the cheek before uttering under his breath “What does ‘fucking’ mean?”
I love that kid more than I’ve ever loved anything. Don’t make his generation fight our battles.
Shaming of every variety needs to end now, we should be celebrating different, not condemning it. Not just for society as it is now, but for society as it will be.
How many more tears do we need our children to cry?
“Don’t make his generation fight our battles.”
What the Democrats are trying to do is not to end the shutdown for its own sake, but to break the cycle of crises governance, where they are constantly being asked to make absurd concessions merely to keep the government operating. They want to take away the Republicans’ ability to hold a gun to our country’s credit rating and take away their will to shut down the government. And, since this is the priority, helping the Republicans save face by giving them some reward, no matter how paltry, is entirely counterproductive.
To put it in parent/child terms, if you have a boy who throws a lot of tantrums, your problem isn’t the particular tantrum he is throwing right now, but the fact that he throws tantrums whenever he doesn’t get what he wants. When you bargain with the child, you ensure that he will continue the behavior in the future because it is effective.