I've noticed that I'm not the only one whose blogging has decreased. I was shocked to see that it's been a week since I wrote--I was pretty prolific for a while there! There are multiple reasons, including a general malaise that has been with me all winter, as well as a preoccupation with Facebook friends and what is being discussed there. There is a pleasant little group of us that share political and religious articles and opinions, and sometimes just fun things. I think that's another reason I haven't been writing much lately; sometimes I just need a break from the serious stuff, and I'm not one to write here often about my latest trip to Wal-Mart (unless it's to write about something weird/funny/annoying that happened). Most entries lately end up being serious and lengthy (sometimes seriously lengthy), and I spend two or three hours putting them all together. So yes, I'm whelmed.
I'm not stopping--you can't get rid of me that easily--but I'm not going to feel guilty about not writing daily or even every other day. It will happen when it happens.
I did spend several hours on Thursday watching the health care summit. I was doing other things, too, but I did have it on all day and it was pretty clear right off the bat that nothing was going to come of it, other than a clear indicator of just how deep the partisan divide is. A never-the-twain-shall-meet sort of divide. The GOP immediately called for the complete scrapping of the current bill and to start over. The Democrats said no, there are good things in there that we both agree on, and starting over will delay this even more. You can guess which side I came down on. Anytime someone issues an ultimatum, you know there are power issues there. I've always found the attitude of "Do this or we won't cooperate" to be bullying tactics.
An even bigger difference, to me, was the deep and abiding difference in philosophies. The GOP seems to believe that it's okay for tens of millions of Americans to be uninsured. The Democrats believe it is a moral obligation to care for all of our citizens, or to at least make a concerted and serious start on getting there. Again, no surprise how I feel about it. I've written about this numerous times. To me, it's not just a matter of making sure that everyone has access to affordable health care; it's a way to bring about lower costs for everyone and to break the stranglehold the insurance companies have on our entire country. Someone brought up one of the standard GOP arguments, that everyone does have access to care in our emergency rooms. It can't be any simpler: such visits drive our costs through the roof, and it's something that is passed along to each and every one of us. I would be happy to pay a little more to ensure that people get preventive health care so that they don't have to make visits to the emergency room.
Someone else brought up the recent news item that one of Canada's provincial premiers came to the States to get a heart procedure. I'm not sure of the entire circumstances of why he came here for the procedure, but Obama's response was the same as mine was when I heard it. Sure, it's great that someone can afford to go to another country for a procedure he needs, if that's what he desires, but a Canadian premier is far from an average-income American worker. People like that don't have the money to get procedures here. That's the whole fucking point! There are some people that save up to travel to Mexico or India to get procedures that they can't afford to get in their own country. We do have great health care here...but what good does it do people if they can't afford it, or lose their home in order to get a life-saving procedure?
I still say we need to look to the north and model our system after Canada's, but I'm afraid that will never happen. The insurance companies are too firmly entrenched as the arbiters of who gets care and who doesn't (talk about coming between you and your doctor!), not to mention firmly entrenched in the deep pockets of some lawmakers. The GOP doesn't seem overly concerned about trying to get more people insured; their plan would add an additional, whopping three million to the ranks of insured. I guess the other 27 million can go fuck themselves, eh? Oh, it's okay...they should be fine. As long as they don't get sick.
I find it all very disheartening and very frustrating.
So there's the serious stuff for today. In the not-so-serious arena, I've been enjoying the Olympics immensely, and speaking of Canada, I'm really looking forward to Sunday's gold medal game in hockey between the US and Canada! It's going to be so exciting, and just between you and me and everyone who read it on Facebook, I'm kind of cheering for Canada. Hockey is their game, man, and it's their Olympics...how awesome would it be for them to win the gold? I wasn't upset when New Orleans beat my Colts in the Super Bowl because I knew how much it meant to NOLA; I have the same feeling about this hockey game. It would be a wonderful ending for the host country, the cherry on top of the whipped cream for them. Or maybe the maple leaf on top. :) I've really been enjoying the hockey games, and I never thought I would get into the game that much. It's a lot of fun!
There was controversy on Friday when the Canadian women's hockey team won the gold, then after the medal ceremony, were photographed on the ice smoking cigars and drinking Molson and champagne. Haha! I have no problem with that, and thought "more power to you!" To me, it's a non-issue. You see all kinds of celebrations after big wins in baseball, football, whatever, with champagne spraying everywhere. Women do it and it's tacky or undignified? Really? Winning a gold medal is a big deal (especially if you're Canadian and win it in hockey), and I say have a ball and celebrate your victory. If you want to do it with beer, champagne, and cigars, I dig where you're coming from.
Speaking of beer, champagne, and cigars (or at least the first one), it's a Rock Band party at my sister's tonight. I'll have my game on, as well as my Cowbell Hero T-shirt. Should be a good time, and if necessary, I've got Bloody Mary fixins for tomorrow. ;)