Sunday, August 30, 2009


In days the unity will wear away and then the battle between the rich and the rest will start again.
by Charlie Leck

I sat and listened quietly to my radio yesterday. For some reason I didn't want to watch the Ted Kennedy funeral mass on television. It was easier just to listen, sitting here in the quiet and dimness of my study, as it played out on-line. What marvelous music! What elegance in listening to Yo-Yo Ma and Placido Domingo. What touching and meaningful speeches by his sons! What a lovely, peaceful moment in time.
"We do not weep for him today because of the prestige attached to his name or his office. We weep because we loved this kind and tender hero who persevered through pain and tragedy -- not for the sake of ambition or vanity, not for wealth or power, but only for the people and the country that he loved." [President Obama]
There was such unity for that moment -- that quiet, daring moment. In a day we'll need to return to the stupidity of politics and Republicans will be what they are and Democrats what they are, and the people will be caught up between them.

Ted Kennedy spent a good deal of time during his life seeking reform of our health care system, believing high quality medical care should not be the province of only the well-to-do. Here in our state we have a silly Congresswoman who shouts that we must not touch the American way of providing health care and medical services because it is absolutely the best in the world.

Well, Congresswoman, it is -- it is for people like yourself. There is no health insurance program any better than that which we provide for the members of the House and the Senate and for all other federal government workers. And those on Medicare (with an adequate supplemental insurance program), like I, are in pretty darn good shape. Ted Kennedy wanted every single citizen of the nation to have health care insurance like that -- no matter what his or her income might be.

But, please Congresswoman, you cause the poor, late Senator to stir restlessly in his grave by calling the American system the best in the entire world. In the year 2000, the World Health Care organization ranked the U.S. health care system as only the 37th best in the World. It ranked France as number 1, Congresswoman, followed by countries like Italy, San Marino, Andorra and Malta. Spain, Austria, Japan and Norway all came in way ahead of the U.S.. So did Columbia, Cyprus and Saudia Arabia.

We should be number 1, Congresswoman, I'll give you that; however, most people are unwilling to pay the cost of putting us in that position. Most people don't want to spend money to make sure every single, solidarity person in our nation gets premium health care when they need it and that everyone gets regular and consistent health care advice and examinations so they can stay healthy.

The wealthy want to pay less taxes and not more. We are a stingy nation, Congresswoman. If one did a world ranking of the stingiest nations on earth, we would finish way down on that last.

No one in the Republican Party is going to jump on the health care band wagon now, in memory of the late and wonderful Senator from Massachusetts. Believe me.

And now, with Ted Kennedy gone, there is going to be a huge vacuum among the Congressional team that wants to pass a good health care reform bill. And, the President has lost a great ally in this cause and effort.
"the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die." [Ted Kennedy]
How I wish it were so, but I am not optimistic. Rather, I am pessimistic! Meaningful health care reform? Stick a fork in the movement! It's done.

How I wish I could share the great optimism of his sons -- that the dream goes on! I just don't see the soldiers who are willing to go to the front lines as Ted Kennedy was time and time again. There isn't much courage like that in the Congress now and I don't think the President has it either.

Granted, the funeral yesterday brought me down somewhat and leaves me depressed for the liberal movement. Perhaps we can seek now and find other great heroes, but, at the moment, I do not see them.

Yes, as someone yesterday said of Teddy, "He was the soul of the party!" Indeed, he was the liberal movement's great heart and soul and we are now in disarray. Who will be our next champion? Who will lead us?

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