Let’s have a little fun in reviewing the past week’s miracles and missteps: more kudos and catcalls.
Catcalls to Major League Baseball for not scheduling even one World Series game during the day. Every single game was an evening game. Shame, shame for assuming that America’s kids are simply smaller versions of adults, with the same capacity for handling a full day.
Worry and embarrassment accompany the story about a woman driver in Korea who finally passed her driver’s test on the 950th try. Normally one would offer kudos to her. However, she definitely falls into the catcall category because even though she finally passed her test, would you want to drive on the same streets as someone who failed their road test 949 times?
I was traveling this week to Maine. When I landed at Portland and went to the Avis counter to rent a car, the clerk checking me in asked me, as they are instructed to do by their mother corporation, if “I wanted full coverage for a mere $50 a day.” I looked at her in disbelief, and then we both cracked up. If I chose those coverage options, I would be paying an additional 150% of the original car rental fee. Is Avis crazy or just stupid?
And what about those personal music appliances like headphones that grow out of seemingly everyone’s ears? Just as the plane took off, I start to hear music all around me. I thought it was being piped in over the plane’s speakers. I asked the steward where the music was coming from and he informed me it was coming from the earphones of the man sitting in front of me. Personal music device, my ass. That music was no more personal or local than a public address system. Catcalls to the makers of all of those headphones that in no way, shape or form restrict the sound waves to only their users.
Catcalls and pure disgust are offered to the GOP and their ridiculous health care reform proposal originating in the House of Representatives. How unbelievable is it that their plan allows insurance companies to deny coverage and treatment for pre-existing conditions? Are we not talking about health care, i.e. treatment for the ill? Healthy people do not need medical care; sick people do. How creative of the GOP to offer affordable health care to only healthy people. Exorbitant premiums might just as well not be available because the average American who gets sick cannot afford them. No wonder the private insurance industry adores the Republicans.
Happily, there was more substantive instances of kudos than catcalls in my little world this week. That Louisiana judge, Keith Bardwell, who refused to marry an interracial couple a few weeks ago despite the legal tenets of Loving v. Virginia, quit his job this week. The pressure of bucking the system, of actually enforcing the items in our Constitution, became too much for the man. Very lucky for all of us.
Kudos to Maine’s governor John Baldacci. In his interview by Deborah Solomon of the New York Times Magazine last Sunday (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/01/magazine/01fob-q4-t.html?scp=2&sq=deborah%20solomon&st=cse), he had some pearls of wisdom to say in response to Solomon’s comment: “I’m beginning to think that maybe Maine has outsize political influence because no one there is wasting time talking, yourself included.” Baldacci responded, “Yes. There is a pragmatism that runs through Maine people. It’s more about getting the job done than talking about getting the job done.” How often have I talked about our politicians doing the jobs for which they were elected and to discard all the game playing and politicking for actual results? Mainers are minimalist and get the picture. Baldacci and other Maine politicians know this about their electorate and perhaps take the proper actions for their people because of their independent, no-nonsense attitude.
Finally and gratefully, I cannot let this election week pass without offering kudos to my Party and President. Within one year of his historical election, President Obama has shown us the light again. The Democrats likewise have been rejuvenated and have been successful in getting various agenda items passed:
Regardless of the difficulty of passing promised legislation, President Obama has us on the path to ethics and responsibility in government. His quick action (not perfect mind you, but nevertheless critical) to the financial meltdown brought us back from the brink of total collapse. Much fine tuning is still necessary. His first bill, the Lily Ledbetter Act, disallowed any statute of limitations when adjudicating equality issues. His proclamation that torture will not be tolerated in our military and appointment of our first Hispanic Supreme Court justice are unquestionably landmarks. Read Eugene Robinson’s Op-Ed piece from the Washington Post:
Admittedly, we have a long way to go on health care reform and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But my hat is off to President Obama for his accomplishments so far, his promise for the future and his style of leadership that requires participation from all of us. His leadership is based on the fundamentals of the community activism he worked at in the beginning of his career. Many criticize President Obama for his lack of tenacity or decisiveness. I say that this is purposeful on his part. I believe his style of leadership is by consensus, i.e. he wants the people to partake in decisions and responsibility. It goes back to his days as a community activist. Change means nothing if it is decided by the top and handed down to the masses. Change must originate from the people. In that way, they will have ownership of any new legislation.
Unless a leader teaches the people themselves how to affect change in government, his actions will be merely superficial. A leader may hold the reins of government for just so many years (unless, of course, you are Michael Bloomberg). In order for a legacy to develop, positive effects from that particular leader’s tenure in office, it is much more beneficial to educate the voting population on the finer points of participation in that process and how they can translate their ideals into action. This idea of “teaching change” goes back to the old adage: “If you give a man a fish, he will not be hungry today. But if you teach a man how to fish, he will never go hungry again.”
Finally, accolades galore to Nancy Pelosi for her astute leadership in the House in seeing through health care reform legislation. It was a close call, but Speaker Pelosi brought home the bacon —- with just two votes to spare. She delivered for her President but moreover, she delivered for each and every one of us Americans. Pelosi can play with the best of them and the GOP can continue to vilify her. The irony of the situation? While she plays well with the big boys and is giving them a dose of their own medicine, she bested the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats at their own game. That above all, is what infuriates the obstructionists. Speaker Pelosi obstructed the obstructionists.
Little by little, the Democrats and the President are affecting change on a grand scale. Kudos to the real leaders of and for the people. Yes, indeedy: it was a satisfying week.
Tags: GOP health care reform, headphone pollution, John Baldacii, Keith Bardwell, maine's independent thinking, Nancy Pelosi, North Korean driver, one year election anniversary for Barack Obama, rental car coverage, World Series day games