It's the holiday season and Congress is faced with a gift-giving dilemma of Dickensian proportion: Should they grant the American people the financial relief and insurance coverage they so desperately need -- in the form of meaningful health insurance reform with a strong public option -- or will they gift the health insurance corporations with legislation that forces all Americans to buy a policy from them, thus guaranteeing even bigger profits than the corporations already take from the American pubic?
When Congress stuffs the stockings next month, who gets the oranges and who gets the lumps of coal?
On Saturday, after a contentious debate to . . . well, to allow a debate, the Senate voted along party lines 60-39 to allowa proposed insurance bill onto the Senate floor. Wow. Harry Reid had to bend backward and sideways to appease many in his own party to even allow further discussion of the bill.
Where are we, Truthseekers,when our lawmakers are so terrified of Big Insurance and Big Pharma that such obscene political contortions are necessary even to consider the possibility that a reform bill can be discussed?
Both sides are deeply divided over core issues in the bill, with some lawmakers (Mitch McConnell) vowing to kill any bill that even hints at a public option, while others (Sen. Bernie Sanders) promise the same action if a public option is not included. If the debate over the debate is this heated, imagine the madness that will come when the measure is actually and seriously considered?
Insane John McCain helped set the tone Saturday with an hysterical and grammatically porous rant that compared the bill to a Ponzi scheme on America: "I don't think Americans really understand the scam that's going on here, of beginning to collect taxes, tax increases and Medicare cuts, of approximately $1 trillion beginning 40 days from now," McCain babbled on the Senate floor . . . "In other words, the first of January, according to this plan, Americans will begin experiencing cuts in Medicare, and increases in taxes 40 days from now. Now, is there anybody who wouldn't agree that that's nothing but a scam on the American people? I think Bernie Madoff went to jail for this kind of behavior."
His verbal antics were almost crazed enough to distract the viewer from staring at the homunculus growing out of his jaw -- which seemed to inflate as his rant escalated. Good thing he has a "public option."
The salient fact is that poll after poll indicates the American people want the public option, too -- 77% support the choice of an option; 65% want it guaranteed in any legislation. And, these are just two recent examples. With that kind of strong positive support, why is Congress having such a difficult time representing the people they claim to represent?
Are these opposition lawmakers so beholden to the Insurance and Pharma lobbyists they don't even pretend to care about their constituents anymore and feel comfortable totally ignoring their wishes? The Republicans -- and a handful of corrupt "blue dog" Democrats -- would instead have us believe their opposition is not related to the demands of their corporate masters in the health care industry, but that they are suddenly so fiscally concerned about this country they cannot fathom any further deficit spending .. . unless it's for the ongoing carnage in The Bush Wars. Then it's open the money spigots, the deficit be damned.
Hypocrites. They always allocate a gush of taxpayer money to enable killing and maiming, but barely a trickle for healing and helping the sick and their families.
And because of the Thanksgiving holiday, these lawmakers are returning to their home districts to engage in the new version of that old American tradition -- The Town Hall Debate. These meetings are now more like contact sports than public opportunities to discuss the issues with our chosen representatives, and pack more drama and overwrought emotions than any Thanksgiving dinner with your estranged relatives. (Yeah, so Uncle Arthur is boinking his secretary and Aunt Polly has emptied the kids' college fund to buy a limited edition, genuine jewel-encrusted cummerbund signed by Elvis Presley himself on ebay, but looky here! The Glenn Beck Express has rolled into town with a fresh batch of teabaggers and/or batty birthers waving their photocopied Constitutions and fake birth certificates and shouting "death panels!" at the hapless Congressman at the podium.) Debates? Please. Call them something else: Lynch mobs? Screaming matches? Platforms to organize a "Beck for Vice President" committee? A roomful of Insane People off their meds? Pick one. Make up your own description. But, "debates" they are not.
Pass the peas, please, and scoot that TV a little closer to the dinner table. Can you switch to CSPAN? Who cares about football playoffs when Orin Hatch is launching a holy war against health care and Michelle Bachmann is gathering her minions for a self-mutilation protest?
So, Congress is set to stage its own production of A Christmas Carol on Capitol Hill for us, complete with ghosts, spirits, and hauntings. Will the Scrooges in Congress choose the kindness and compassion the Americans want and deserve, or succumb to the heartless greed of their health care industry corporate overlords and let Tiny Tim die?
"God bless us, everyone" . . . indeed.