Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Green Cheese

As I cannot say it better, I am borrowing heavily from Steve Benen of the Maddow Report. I have always said that I can't respect a liar who can so easily be called out.
Mitt Romney's aides explained why they love their ad accusing President Obama of removing the work requirement from welfare. "Our most effective ad is our welfare ad," said Ashley O'Connor, a Romney strategist. It's new information!"
The claims are "new," of course, because the Romney campaign made them up. Sure, it's "new information," in the same way it would be "new information" if Obama said Mitt Romney sold heroin to children -- when one invents a lie, its "newness" is self-evident.
I thought that campaigns can spin, slice, fudge, and distort the truth, but they couldn't literally make stuff up. The political fabric of our democracy tolerates a generous amount of duplicity -- so long as there's at least a kernel of truth in the claim somewhere -- but demonstrable lies are unacceptable.
My take-away is that if you're dumb enough to believe the moon is made of green cheese, and especially if you want to believe it, I'd better tell you it is.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Poor People

“God must love poor people, because he made so many of them.” I’d tell you who said this if I knew. Right now, poor people are the lodestar of the political differences. The Republicans paint them as lazy, dependent on the largesse of government for their existence, sucking the lifeblood out of the hardworking taxpayers. The Democrats view them as temporarily down on their luck, due in part to the recession caused by the Republicans and their wars and tax cuts for the rich. I see them as you and me, at least compared to the rich. Whatever happened to the middle class? 

I don’t understand why there is such animosity about this issue. Is it that we fear a world in which food, rent, health care are a luxury?  Don’t we know that no one chooses to live on the street or beg for basic necessities? There is just a basic smugness about the “I’ve got mine” attitudes that I see even among friends and relatives. 

This attitude is in play with those who are against universal health care. Is it not empathy and compassion for us to want to help prevent or lessen human suffering? Or is it sentimental liberalism leaning toward socialism? Ask the parent of a sick child if he isn’t worried about becoming too dependent on government.

Why are we the one civilized nation that is still ambivalent about this issue? Why is our health care the most expensive in the world, while the results are embarrassing? Why can’t a healthy population become a goal to be reached by reasonable people, not a cause for partisan bickering? Is it because we are afraid that the poor and lazy might take it away from the rest of us?

It can happen, you know. TB is on the rebound. Unvaccinated children or adults are a risk to all of us. Untreated bacterial or viral infections know no social distinctions. We are all better off in a healthy country.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Goodbye, Old Friend

My friend June died this morning, and there will never be another friendship in my life that lasts 65 years. We were friends from 5th grade, survived junior and senior high ups and downs, arguing over whether majorettes or cheerleaders were the coolest. We both won scholarships to Stetson, even though we had never heard of it. We roomed together for two years there, and then she married Dennis, who is very lonely today. We named daughters after each other, and in recent years sent e-mails to each other instead of our daughters as we intended.

That explains why she sent me her draft obituary and the script for her memorial service last week, so I forwarded it to the daughter. June picked the songs, the scripture passages and the persons to read them, even the dress code (No black, please.)

Her oldest daughter, Susan, sent the following message to friends and family. I don't think she would mind my sharing. "In the end she simply stopped breathing, gently and with no struggle, and shed the old coat of her body. She has left her fatigued and worn-out body behind to return to God, where she had begun her being."

Godspeed, June. You have set us a good example.