Sunday, October 20, 2013

Just like away - the Peter O'Connor commentary

As we watch the unbelievable clownishness of our politicians in this season of their ridiculous glory, we need to truly wonder at the enduring shame we now carry on their behalf. 

We, who are so conscious of every foreign opinion stated about us, from “most foolish country on earth” through Travel Advisories and to our “sexiest accents”, have every right to feel the shame of our politicians’ behavior.

How can we explain to our visitors just what it is that is going on? Look, we cannot explain it to ourselves, internally, or in discussion, whether in serious debate or in old talk. Of course, a number of us seek to revel in the insipid and boorish behavior of the so-called political rallies, which are really just noisy mauvais-langue fetes without noise controls from the EMA. And the media plays its part by concentrating on the bacchanal commentaries over any semblance of what a Party or a candidate might do for the electorate.

But while I understand the shame we all feel, that these people are our “leaders” who stand and shout abuse at each other on purchased television prime time, aided and abetted by the media, I must say I have been comforted by the fact that we are merely behaving “just like away”.

You see I have assuaged my embarrassment at our politicians’ behavior by watching the politicians “from away” on TV. And I chose those people we most wish we were, the country to which we all wish to flee, legally or illegally, emulate, imitate, and pander to: We call it “America”, they call it “the States”. They claim to have invented Democracy, but they still do not know what the word means, nor what is the reality of that status. Let me see if I can explain how I understand it all, which I believe is more than most Americans understand.

Americans go and vote for Senators and for their Congressmen/women. No they do not truly vote for their President, but they don’t like to acknowledge that. The Congress and Senate vote on issues of governance, and the majority vote thus makes law and policy. 

All of that is, I acknowledge, “democracy”. A health care law was passed by this system, and the losers in that issue went to the United States Supreme Court to have the law which was passed by democratic means declared “Unconstitutional”. The Supreme Court ruled that the health care law, called “Obamacare” after President Barrack Obama, is constitutional.

That should be the end of that story, with the Republican Party, the ones who oppose Obamacare, accepting the “democracy” they so loudly hail, but with the ongoing right to seek to overturn that law in future sessions. But that is obviously too democratic, so they, having enough votes to deny the passage of what even they consider is vital financial legislation, announce that they will not pass that vital legislation unless Obamacare is shut down. I lie? I am wrong in this?

Is this democracy, or is it terrorism? Using a technical vote to close down the economy of the world’s major economic player, to deny wages and salaries to hundreds of thousands of people, to remove protection against diseases, to cancel government services, is an example of democracy in action? Please let us get real on this. What would this little group of Tea Pot Banana Republicans have said had this tactic been tried in some other country where American hallowed “interests”—like oil or presumed national security-- been at stake?

And what precedents have been set for Democrats to use this futility tactic to push for agendas which defy the democratic will of the American people? Clearly that door is now wide open, but Banana Republicans will undoubtedly claim that such a tactic, used against their agendas, is unpatriotic and undemocratic.

And this whole fiasco, still unresolved, merely deferred again, reveals another startling misunderstanding by Americans about what health care and its funding entails. 

The enduring American philosophy regarding health care is that it is for the rich, and that the poor are not entitled to what the rich take for granted in times of illness. One might think that reformation of such a system, to provide a means where sick or injured citizens would all get the same excellent medical care which does exist, would represent the epitome of a fair and just society, would be welcomed by all. Well, in America it is not that simple. They need to add the extra costs, bureaucracy and confusion of the insurance industry. But that is another story.

And I conclude with this message to our own politicians, political aspirants and their sycophants: Take heart people. You reach. You are just as bad as the Americans, just much less important.

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Jai & Sero

Jai & Sero

Our family at home in Toronto 2008

Our family at home in Toronto 2008
Amit, Heather, Fuzz, Aj, Jiv, Shiva, Rampa, Sero, Jai