Monday, August 31, 2009

August Really Is The Cruelest Month ...

... which is probably why I haven't blogged at all during it. It's not as if there's been a lack of material. I could blog every day of the new month that's about to start in a few hours, and still not catch up.

But, frankly, the health care "debate" has depressed the hell out of me. The Republicans and their Astroturf agents at the town halls recognize no limits when it comes to exploiting the issue at the expense of potential solutions. And the Democrats expect us to believe that none of the could have been foreseen by them, despite past summer muggings.

Both parties misuse and abuse the concept of bipartisanship in different ways: the GOP uses it to leverage short-term gains of power at the expense of the country as a whole, while the Democrats use it as an excuse to avoid the ugly reality that change is not only worth fight for, but often can only be brought about by a fight.

And, while both parties fiddle, the health care system burns.

I have to fault President Obama for overlearning the lessons of the Clintons' experience with the issue. He has been missing in action on this and so many other issues for so long. It's time for him to get over himself and realize that he was elected to lead the nation, not mediate the differences of politicians who live to do nothing but differ with each other, while selling themselves to the highest bidder.

And he needs to understand that, for him, it's OK to have a point of view. Nobody expects to agree with him all the time. But they expect him to move forward, and take us with him by talking about what he wants to do, why he wants to do it, and why he believes it will work.

And, if he wants to be bipartisan, let him take a cue from the last Republican President to seriously proposed national health insurance, Richard Nixon: make a public appeal to the "silent majority" that wants reform and not ranting. This country has suffered enough at the hands of the angry minority that doesn't have brains enough to do anything but yell. Those people have effectively excused themselves from the democratic debate by acting like Fascists.

It is not too late, if we don't give up. I hope, and I pray, that we don't.