It feels like the morning after. We elected a President for change; we have made a pass at a climate bill and a health care bill; we stopped torturing, but still do rendition; we thought we were going to open up our government, but then we are told that the truth will do too much damage and somebody’s morale might he hurt; and we still have gays being thrown out of the military for being who they are. We just went through a weekend where we said goodbye to Teddy Kennedy and maybe the last lion to champion liberalism. Now we face tomorrow and what we know is the people who have no ideas about our future are stifling any change. And what we know is that the status quo is not acceptable and yet the defenders of that status quo are winning.
If we look at each of the major issues facing us today, there are viable and undeniable arguments for making a change. There are also some good and viable arguments against some of the specifics of the plans proposed. But those arguments are being lost in the din of emotionalism run amok. Instead of having a rational discussion about the pros and cons of the proposed change, we are seeing a barrage of emotional appeals that have no rational basis. What we have to understand is that these emotional appeals like death panels and the end of Medicare are smoke screens to prevent any change. What is really going on here is an attempt to change nothing because the big money interests make big money in the present system and frightened little people unable to let the past be the past. It is a total failure to face reality. Denial is king.
Let’s take our climate change/energy bill. There are undeniable (or so one would think) reasons to reduce our dependence on fossil fuel. These are climate change, the unstoppable growth in the cost of fossil fuels, and that its use transfers much of our wealth to those who hate us. Those against it deny climate change, and say the last two problems are controlled if we drill baby drill. None of it is rational. It is simply hanging on to the status quo assuming the future will be like the past. If one accepts the proposition that fuel prices will continue to spike, then developing green energy will stimulate an industrial base for our future. So what is so hard about this? Money. Sadly it was chronicled the other day that China was now leading us in green energy because of their government’s investment in its research. But governments are bad aren’t they?
Now Republicans will hate climate legislation because it requires government intervention into a stagnate industry, therefore bad. Their fear tactic? A tax on every citizen and making us uncompetitive. Democrats in middle America are bought and paid for by the coal industry. Although we hear the word, “clean coal”, it does not exist. It destroys the environment to extract it and there is no way yet to remove the carbon dioxide and sequester it. But middle America gets their energy by coal and there is big money to be lost if we start taxing their pollution to incentivize other forms of competing energy production. So our wonderful capitalist system (which doesn’t exist) is the biggest hindrance to innovation and change. It is true that it will put a tax on many forms of energy production, but it is the tax that invests in our future. The argument should be about how do we expedite our movement to green energy and how best to make it a soft landing for other forms of energy, but the fear tactics will stop anything and it is the product of our energy corporations.
Then of course we have health care. We have heard the baseless allegations by top Republicans to stifle real debate. The money train here has been well established by the New York Times, Washington Post, MSNBC, etc. There are real and substantial arguments against what is presently being proposed and we are not hearing them. If we had a real debate then a plan would go forward that addresses these issues. But to have this debate would be to admit that change is necessary in a meaningful way. Those against health care reform want no debate whatsoever if it impacts negatively the profits of their corporate masters. Since by necessity this is what real reform will bring, there can be no real reform.
So far it would appear that they are winning as we have seen the less enlightened in our population come out and scream at Town Hall meetings and listening to our moron media say that there are real concerns out there. Is it a real concern if you are concerned about something that doesn’t exist and you are ignoring the real problems we are facing? But shouting matches are good entertainment for small minds and we see that instead of enlightened debate.
So what I see is one party who sees challenges before us and is offering solutions albeit, liberal solutions. The other party is unwilling to debate these proposed solutions on a rational basis because they do want change. Therefore rational debate is being stifled by fear and ignorance. We saw this in the run up to the Iraq war and apparently we have learned nothing. I fear for this country when a large segment of the population operates with a set of facts that aren’t facts and we are afraid to let go of our past and face our future.