Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tonight's Speech

Well, it's hard to work in public radio and blog about anything else today. Or read The New York Times or The Washington Post, both of which have significant pre-speech coverage on the front page above the fold.

My hope is that all of us will do tonight exactly what our first grade teachers told us to do so often: Sit still and listen. We owe it to ourselves and our families to be apolitically curious about what our President has to say tonight; to be open-minded in our consideration of what health care reform really means.

My questions are, how did health care become a partisan issue? Why would anyone want to spread misinformation about the current attempt to improve a system that's pretty obviously run amuck? What's wrong with open-minded consideration of the reform options that are on the table? What's to be gained by making people who would probably benefit tremendously from health care reform, afraid of it?

Those are serious questions. Anyone got any serious answers?


  1. Neither party wants to see the other do something good. So when the Democrats come up with a truly good idea the Republicans destroy it and when the Republicans come up with a really good idea the Democrats destroy it, otherwise they might get credit and win in the next election. It’s no longer about what’s best for the nation but what keeps them in power.
    At least, that’s how I see it.

  2. Two reasons:
    1) The profit margin of the health insurance companies went up very substantially in the last 10 years, and it happened largely by denying claims. It is to the direct financial advantage of these companies that we not have a rational conversation, which would probably result in curtailing these profits in some way.
    2) While for many of us the election of a Black President was a positive milestone, for many others, esp. the millions of whites raised in a Jim Crow atmosphere, it is a predictable source of growing panic and rage, an overturning of what they believe about this country. These people are easily manipulated into a frenzy on any issue related to the President, and are not interested in solutions short of the impossible - a return to the status quo of the 1950s.

    This isn't to say that one side is wholly wrong and one wholly right. nor to insult anyone. One can certainly disagree with the President for rational policy reasons. But these are the two elephants in the room that explain why this moment is different from other moments.

  3. The following came into my e-mail from Judy Diltz:
    "My questions are, how did health care become a partisan issue? " I think that question should also be asked about education. I cannot believe how "childish" the response was to the broadcasting of the President's speech. Read the following about the issue and you will be chilled by the numbers: