Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Half a Loaf of Bread

Things have returned to normal here in Schreiberland since my trip to India.  I've finally re-adjusted to Central Daylight Time, taxied kids to all reaches of Champaign-Urbana, scheduled parent-teacher conferences, enjoyed grocery shopping amidst the vast consumer choices of a big box store (Meijer), attended approximately 384 church meetings, done my regular tutoring at Danville prison, and caught up on The Office, 30 Rock and Lost. Trying to make sense of Lost is no easier than before leaving for India, but I'm all in at this point.

But what really makes me feel at home is staring at my computer when I should be writing.  Instead, I am now fully up-to-date on all the latest ways to be frustrated with our political system.

As such, there is a great article at Smile Politely today, Something is better than nothing, where Joel Gillespie interviews Claudia Lennhoff from the Champaign County Health Care Consumers. Over the last nine months I've swung between tepid support of the proposed health care reforms (because they are so watered down compared to what is really needed) and general anger at Republicans (for consistently lying about and obstructing any kind of reform that is so desperately needed by so many people).

Lennhoff is in the trenches and sees the daily effects of our current health care system. 

The way I think of this imperfect legislation is this: If one is hungry, one does not walk away from half a loaf of bread just because it is not a full loaf of bread, or the type of bread we really wanted. You take the half and come back the next time for the other half or for another loaf. You don’t walk away from the opportunity to help real people. Our nation is desperate. I think Rep. Kucinich must not feel the desperation and must not have had to witness the destruction of people’s lives because of our current health care situation. I would invite him to walk one day in my shoes, working with local clients. Or better yet, walk one day in the life of one of my clients. Being sick and not knowing how, or if you’re going to get better is a very terrible way to live.
I may be tepid about partial reform, but she's convinced me that, indeed, something is better than nothing. Like Nader in 2000, making a statement about one's unhappiness with a pure, ideal state is a sign of privilege. And like Nader in 2000, demanding perfection will lead to continued suffering that the least among us can least afford.

8 comments:

Tim said...

I met Claudia Lennhoff when I was at the Fur Ball last fall. She's great. I'm on the CCHCC mailing list and have been getting lots of valuable updates about the health care debate.

Your Nader analogy is a good one. Don't shoot down the whole thing just because it's not exactly what you want. Doing nothing is the absolute worst option.

PG said...

I'm praying that this time the Republicans are right, that the health care bill is a Trojan Horse and, in time, there will be universal single payer health care for all.

I need that half a loaf.

Robert Sievers said...

This is the beginning of the end for our country. Any one who understands economics and tax theories understands why.

PG said...

Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman seems to disagree, Robert. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/22/opinion/22krugman.html

Robert Sievers said...

http://optoons.blogspot.com/2010/03/smoker-president-signs-government-run.html

Tim said...

Robert, anyone who understands history knows that conservatives have fought tooth and nail against every great social change in this country, from emancipation to women's suffrage to Social Security to desegregation to Medicare.

They know they're on the wrong side of history, which is why they are so angry about an initiative that has been long overdue: health insurance for all Americans.

If this is the end of our country, then how is it that every other civilized country in the world offers health care to its citizens, and yet they have not crumbled into a cloud of dust?

Robert Sievers said...

Tim,

Apparently, the people who wrote the following Wikipedia article don't know their history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1964

They say It was the democrats who stalled this bill. You should go tell them to fix the entry.

Also, most books I have read indicate that Lincoln was a republican too. Are you telling me they are also all wrong?

Tim said...

I said "conservative", not Republican or Democrat. Are you seriously going to argue that conservatives didn't try to block each of the social movements I mention? The people who turned fire hoses on blacks-- you think those were the liberals?

If you don't see health care coverage for all citizens as a no-brainer, something that every other civilized country sees as a priority, then you are on the wrong side of history.