Saturday, August 8, 2009

Health Care Soundtrack, And A Modest Proposal

I'm becoming increasingly dismayed at the trajectory of the health care "debate". Watching the videos of the town hall meetings, reading the hostile rhetoric of both sides, I see this as about to get way out of control. What's needed is a leader to calm everybody down, but I don't see that forthcoming. This morning, I was watching a video of a White House spokesman on Breitbart talking about references to Nazism:
I think anytime you make references to what happened in Germany in the 30s and 40s, I think you are talking about an event that has no equivalent. And I think anytime anyone ventures to compare anything to that, they are on thin ice, and it is best not employed.

I'll agree with that. The NAZI thing is always overdone. The reference to "thin ice" got me thinking about Jethro Tull's song, Skating Away (on the thin ice of the new day). Poets/songwriters always seem to understand things the best - perhaps because they are the least powerful to do anything about them. But, since the song is really about youth, the lyrics didn't fit.

I then turned to what could be an equivalent situation to today. Woodrow Wilson and the first progressive era came to mind. Back then there was the same co-operate or else mentality, the same spying-on-your-neighbors approach, and the first appearance of union goon squads. Maybe Tull's New Day Yesterday (but it's an old day now) would offer some guidance. Wrong again. That's a song about love, an emotion that is nonexistent in politics. There didn't seem to be any poem that properly describes the mud ball fight that passes for political discourse in the 21st Century.

What's the real problem here? Why all the shouting and shoving in this so-called "debate"?

Suppose the health care bill were something less than 1,000 pages long. Suppose too, that it was written in language that didn't require a lawyer to interpret it, something even a congressman could read and understand. Suppose then, that the congressman went to the people, and in a straight-forward way, explained what their representatives were planning for them. Suppose then, that the people, having a clear idea of what the plan was, and able to discern the logical result, could talk among themselves reasonably, regarding the relative merits of the plan.

We don't have to do things the way we're doing them. When those in power deem it necessary to hide behind nebulous legalisms and stealth legislation, they only breed uncertainty and mistrust. Meanwhile, those out of power fear the ever creeping tentacles of government destroying our freedoms, and they are right to do so. Things could be different. They probably won't be, but they could. Then again, maybe I'm just getting Too Old To Rock-N-Roll (and too young to die).
The old rocker wore his
hair too long,
wore his trouser cuffs too tight.
to the end -
he drank his ale too light.

A deaths-head belt buckle,
yesterdays dreams,
The transport CaF* prophet of doom,
Ringing no change in his
double-sewn seams,
in his post-war-baby gloom.

He was too old
to rock-n-roll,
but he was too young to die.

Yep, that sums it up pretty well.

*CaF is bookkeeping shorthand for Carry and Freight.

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