Several days ago the
health care bill passed.
I am glad that it did.
It is certainly not a perfect bill and there are aspects of it, especially such shenanigans as the ``Cornhusker Kickback,’’ that rankle. But anyone familiar with any political process, be it village or national politics, knows that in order to get anything done deals are made, compromises are forged, and lofty aspirations often fall prey to more modest, politically achievable results.
One of these days I hope we do find the moral fortitude as a nation to care enough about one another to create a system of universal health care for all.
There is a strange and troubling irony about our national penchant for starting wars in far away places knowing full well that thousands on both sides will die.
And that those who happen to survive such inexcusable barbarism will suffer in innumerable ways for the rest of their lives. What is it that makes it so easy for us to go to war, even begin them under false pretenses, and suggest that those of us who oppose such idiocies are somehow less patriotic because we see no earthly, or spiritual, justification for such self-destructive escapades in the first place. There is just something downright puzzling about the way in which we set national priorities. Frankly, I do not care a whit which political party anyone belongs to. I wish we could do away with them.
Madison warned us about factionalism a long time ago and his fears have come home to roost. People are so dug into their factional foxholes these days that civil discussion is nigh impossible.
I need not review the ugliness that certain partisans have exhibited publicly the past several weeks.
It is not surprising, really, since anyone whose head is not buried in the sand knows that ugliness, most often nurtured by fear and ignorance, is alive and well throughout this land. Unfortunately, we share this pathology with the rest of the world. I wish I was optimistic about its eradication. The extent to which we live in fear of terrorist attacks is a testament to the heightened levels of insanity that hatred has evolved to.
The operative credo is simple: to get your way, or at least make your point, kill as many innocent people as you like. Then have the audacity to attribute your actions to your personal deity.
The same mentality seems to pervade politics. If you do not agree with someone, then do the honorable thing: vilify him. If you do not believe that government should involve itself in health care, then call those that do communists, socialists or, even worse, Hitlerites. If you believe that government does have a role, then castigating all those who disagree as cold-hearted, uncaring, and greedy seems to suffice.
Even though I hold some relatively liberal views, I also think of myself as equally conservative with respect to certain issues. I guess what matters is how you define your terms. It used to be that our legislators would debate by day, often disagreeing vehemently, but come nightfall they would dine together and often go on family weekend trips together.
We have lost some fine people from both sides of the aisle because politics has become more personal than ever. Mean-spirited divisiveness has replaced civil dissent, a necessary cornerstone of any democracy.
The abortion debate brings out the worst in us.
If you believe that a woman has the right to make her own reproductive decisions, including the termination of a pregnancy, then you are characterized as a ``baby killer.’’ If, on the other hand, you characterize yourself as being ``pro-life,’’ a rather ambiguous phrase at best, the tendency is to claim the moral high ground as yours alone. The implication, then, is that those who see things differently are spiritually bankrupt. Of course, any rift rooted in theological conflict is ideologically irresolvable. And the beat goes on.
My antidote to all this is to take a very long walk.
Several days ago the
health care bill passed.
I am glad that it did.
Passing along advice of seeing the humor
The best advice given to me many years ago when I started teaching had nothing to do with my discipline, English. Rather, a former mentor insisted on the necessity of having a sense of humorContinued ...
The week that was ...
For a number of years now, we have not been in Cooperstown for the spring season. And we must admit that we had quite forgotten what it is like. But since we decided that travel was not on the docket for this year, we have become reacquainted with the Cooperstown spring. And we must say we rather enjoyed it with the possible exception of occasional uncalled for snow and seemingly frigid temperatures.Continued ...
Local Voices From Around the Globe: Mother's visit was a benchmark for this year
Last week, my mother made the 25-hour plane trip out to Thailand to visit her son, me, after nine months of having only choppy Skype sessions and scattered emails to give her an idea of what I look and act like since having left home last August.Continued ...
Local Voices From Around the Globe: World traveler calls Euro-Tour experience of a lifetime
While I've had a great time throughout my entire exchange, I can say hands down that the month of April brought me the best memories of my exchange if not some of the best of my entire life. What kind of wonder would bring me to say this? Simple. Euro-Tour.Continued ...
Maryland port attacked
Havre de Grace, May 3. "This morning, a little after the break of day, a British armed force, under cover of armed vessels which anchored in front of this town ... landed below a small breast work which had been roughly thrown up, and in which were one 9 and two 4 pounders, manned by 50 militia.Continued ...
Memoir reflects on 'roller-coaster life and career'
Apparently, the third time wasn't the charm. The way Reynolds described him, the third husband was worse than the first two combined and that's saying a lot. Eddie Fisher literally walked away from Reynolds and their two infant children to chase a sex goddess. At least he got his just desserts when Elizabeth Taylor tossed him aside for Richard Burton.Continued ...
Imagine what might have been ...
A while back we got a telephone call from a reader of this column wanting to know why we had not written a column in support of Otsego Manor continuing to be owned and operated by Otsego County. And even though we have followed the debate over this issue in the newspaper, we readily admitted we did not feel we knew enough about the situation to take a stand.Continued ...
Herpes virus brings harness racing to a halt
I've been going to harness horse race tracks my entire life. My family has been in the business for years.Continued ...
Time, if not traffic, moves on ...
It is with sadness we note the passing of two people who we have known since moving to Cooperstown in 1982.Continued ...
Canadian capital captured
Dear Sir, I have just returned from Fort Niagara, where I saw a Captain of the United States' navy. He is just from little York, the capital of Upper Canada, and gives the following account, which is confirmed in official dispatches from Gen. Dearborn to Gen. Lewis ...Continued ...
Local Voices From Around The Globe: Exchange is like a life in a year
All exchange students realize the credibility of this statement. Like all lives no exchange is the same, all are incredible unique exchanges. The metaphor of life, from baby to old age, extends to every part of the exchange.Continued ...
Movie depicting legendary Jackie Robinson does not disappoint
Going to the movies is not something I do often. I can count the number of times I have gone on my fingers, unless you include trips to the drive-in. And even so, it took me years before I made it to one of those -- going for the first time two summers ago.Continued ...
'Dubious' about weather, Hawkeyes 'suitable' nickname
Unfortunately, it seems to us that this spring has, thus far, been anything but spring like. In fact, we are still more than happy to stay bundled up in our polar fleece.Continued ...
'Who's on Worst?' reveals the ugly in baseball
The Baseball Hall of Fame celebrates the greatest players, managers and owners from our national pastime. Any of us who have watched Major League baseball have inevitably seen some of these immortals practicing their craft. But we have also likely witnessed a sample of their opposite brethren, players who shouldn't have been in the Major Leagues. Has there ever been a definitive source that "celebrates" the non-accomplishments of the worst that Major League baseball has to offer?Continued ...
Swallow talk and bluebird vigilance
I assume the swallows have returned to Capistrano. They have returned to Hawthorn Hill as well.Continued ...
Local Voices From Around the Globe: Life in Hungry has taken a turn for the better
I can truthfully say spring has finally arrived in Hungary. It's almost time to wear shorts and sandals, for summer will be just around the corner. This brings me great happiness and great sadness, my adventure is coming to a close. Really what a time it was, I don't think I can compare it to anything else.Continued ...
The importance of speaking up ...
Over the years we have come to understand that, in writing a weekly column, it is not possible to always please everyone. And such was the case with our column that ran at the end of March in which we wrote about our experience as in inpatient following a total hip replacement.Continued ...
Public schools created
The Common School Act of 1812 marked the start of New York's public school system. Much of the credit for this was due to the radical Otsego County politician Jedediah Peck (1747-1821). To quote the NY Education Department:Continued ...
Book takes readers on path for equal rights
One of the most troubling aspects of our history is race relations. It takes a long time to achieve true equality in a society when the heritage of one ethnic group is slavery and Jim Crow laws. Even today African Americans are more likely to be stereotyped as athletes than doctors, lawyers or entrepreneurs. The path to a "color-blind" nation is still a work in progress.Continued ...
Local Voices From Around the Globe: Experiencing India at every new turn
Come, sit down. Hold this and, wait ... ah, there you go. Obeying these commands, I found myself seated on the pavement, wearing a turban and attempting to make sounds out of a recorder-like instrument for the black cobras in the baskets not two feet away from me.Continued ...
- Passing along advice of seeing the humor