Friday, May 05, 2017

My Weekend Human Kindness

We are capable of so many amazing, beautiful, gentle, kind, good things – us humans. If we only try, we can do so much good. But that’s the thing. We have to try to do good. It seems good is not our automatic default, as a species. Instead self interest, self glorification, self indulgence tends to be our default. Me, not you. Me.

Yesterday’s monstrous vote to repeal Obamacare orchestrated by Republicans in the House of Representatives was a perfect example of that. The GOP rushed through a bill that nobody seems to much like let alone know what it does (the Republicans didn’t wait for the report from the Congressional Budget Office, hold any public hearings, conduct a single independent study, post the bill for public consumption for a full 24 hours or – as some have admitted – even bother to read the damn thing) before voting it in 217 to 213. It should also be noted, that not one single Democrat voted for this horrible bill. Not one. So, you know, remind me again how there are no differences between the parties.

The CBO analysis of the last version of the GOP’s plan estimates some 24 million Americans would lose their health care. And that was before they modified it to make it more appetizing to the most rabidly conservative wing of the party. What just passed essentially eliminates coverage for pre-existing conditions. Sure they tried to be cute with the language by saying insurers can’t boot you for having a pre-existing condition. But then they took away the key part of Obamacare’s protections, namely that they also couldn’t charge you more. Now insurers will be free to charge you much, much, much more and therefore make healthcare unattainable for people again. So, the end result? People with pre-existing conditions can’t get healthcare – just like before. This bill will kill people. Period.

And let’s talk about what those pre-existing conditions, shall we? They can include: having a heavy period, pregnancy, C-sections, postpartum depression, domestic abuse and sexual assault. You know, basically being a woman. I would also like to note that somehow erectile dysfunction is missing from the list of pre-existing conditions. Cool, dudes. Thanks for looking out.

And we haven’t even touched the severe cuts it makes to Medicaid and defunding of Planned Parenthood yet. Because, sure, why not make everything just that much more awful – right, fellas? Oh, and did I mention it makes deep cuts to special education and also could lift the lifetime cap ban on even people with private insurance through their employer? Because, naturally, it also does that. Shit, at this point it seems like laughter might be people’s only health care option. Shit, wait, that’s illegal, too.

This obscene act of unnecessary cruelty was hurried through to give Trump a “win” and erase their bruised white male egos inflicted by one of President Barack Obama’s greatest legislative accomplishments. They held a party in the Rose Garden with Trump crowing with glee, and I quote: “Hey, I’m president! I’m president! Can you believe it?” Fuck, no, I cannot believe it. And I never will.

Of course, their little party kind of ignored the fact that their work is only half done. Quick civics lessons for all those smug GOP House members glad-handing each other yesterday: Bills need to be passed by the House AND the Senate before being signed by a president and becoming law. And the Senate, well, it might not be as easy. In the House the GOP has a 45-seat advantage over Democrats, and they could still only pass this thing by two votes. In the Senate the GOP only has a four-seat advantage (52-48). Four seats. So this GOP self-congratulation party is like tearing down the goalpost at halftime. Perhaps Trump & Company need to watch to “I’m Just a Bill” again to understand how our government works a little better.

Of course, I put nothing past the GOP at this point. They control the House, Senate and Presidency so if they have the will they can pretty much pass anything at any time. Yet the sheer villainy of passing a bill that – whatever the final score – will absolutely hurt poor people, hurt people with pre-existing conditions, hurt women, hurt the elderly all in an effort to ram through a massive tax cuts for millionaires is still somehow stunning. Make no mistake, this thing is evil.

And yet, once again, it doesn’t have to be. Human kindness is, at its core, about caring for each other. And there is no better example of this than caring for one each other when we are sick. It always baffles me when people say they don’t want to have to pay for someone else’s ill wife or dying child. Why the fuck not? Is there a better way to spend one’s money than saving a life? I can’t really think of one, can you?

Government, at its core, should also be about caring for each other. We pay taxes for the greater good – roads, schools, emergency response, national security, Social Security and so on. There will always be people who need help, who need a hand. As a society we can either extend that hand or yank it away. This bill yanks it away only to give the richest among us an unnecessary pat on the back.

So what can we do at this point? When I – like I imagine so many of you – feel small and tired and angry and scared? Take a breath. Take care of yourself. Be good to yourself. And then fight like hell to flip the House in 2018. Vote out every Republican who voted yes. Donate to causes that will help Democrats win.

When I first made this video six years ago, I had no idea how many times I’d need to post it. But I do. I like to go back to it now and again to remind myself of the beauty we can create. The good we can do if, again, only we try. Happy weekend, all.


Helena said...

Your video sustains us , even in the face of all this we will just have to keep on trying to be good and kind.

Carmen SanDiego said...

I won hundred percent agree with everything you wrote here however this part stands out for me "It always baffles me when people say they don’t want to have to pay for someone else’s ill wife or dying child. Why the fuck not? Is there a better way to spend one’s money than saving a life? I can’t really think of one, can you?"

Carmen SanDiego said...

Also that video is gorgeous and I remember the first time you posted it

Pat Cooper said...

Well said. I found this article on ElHuffPost that gives me hope. Young people recruited Manuela Carmena, a 72 year-old retired Spanish Supreme Justice and feminist to be mayor of Madrid. She has some great ideas: "Politics means solving everyone’s problems, which is why I love to work managing a city that belongs to no one in particular: the air belongs to everyone, gardens belong to everyone, transportation belongs to everyone." What a concept! Article here: