Well, I survived 50 minutes on the treadmill this morning. And over the weekend I dragged my injured foot and leg over the concrete in Washington. I guess, as Prez O opined during the campaign, there is hope. If not for a full recovery to pain-free running, at least to a modest return to running outdoors by the time the heat and humidity start to fade.
Yet grinding away on the treadmill — and watching and listening to the bank of TV stations all basically repeating stories from the past few days — does have its advantages. I was off the grid for a few days last week and again over the weekend. And I learned this morning that I missed a few things about the health-care debate that is getting more contentious. Bet our elected federal officials can’t wait to trade the heat of local town-hall meetings for the humidity of the nation’s capital.
For instance, I learned via Fox News via USA Today and the Los Angeles Times that it is “un-American” to criticize elected officials and raise your voice during the debate over health-care reform. Wow. Where’s Patrick Henry when we need him!
And then I learned from Sarah Palin that in the not-too-distant future (for me at least) I’m going to be standing in front of a government “death panel” making a case for medical treatment that may or may not keep me on the right side of the grass. Oh mama. I can’t even make the case to our condo association board to fix our house’s leaky roof. I’m screwed. Sorry, I digress.
I guess as a card-carrying member of AARP I should be more worried about this. But I’ll put it into the same category as baseball’s designated hitter rule: outrageous and a threat to the American way of life, but not much I can do about it. Does Akron/Copley have any representation in Congress? But the “death panel” claim does resonate — based on fact or folly — with people like me who do have access to excellent and basically unlimited medical treatment. And in a complicated debate like this, it’s the emotional talking points that often carry the day.
I expect that post-Labor Day the administration and the Dems in Congress will agree on some form of health-care reform. The political stakes are too high for them not to do something. Will the legislation — and the fix for what is really a major problem for all of us in this country — be perfect? Nah. No chance.
And the reason: People on Main Street don’t trust those who live their lives and make their money inside the Beltway to act in the public interest — unfettered by all the special interests (in this case health insurers and drug companies and so on) that always manage to end up standing in the front of the line with their hands out and pockets lined.
Obama “hoped” he could change that. But he hasn’t.
Without trust there really is no leadership — on health care or anything else.
I’m actually encouraged that people are willing to get away from their computers and go to a public meeting to confront their elected pooh-bahs face to face. And I guess I don’t see anything un-American about that at all.
Hey, Patrick Henry didn’t jump up and say: “Give me consensus — or give me a bipartisan madate.”