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October 31, 2009 - Ray Hall (Archive)
For what now seems a remarkably short span of time all of America stood united and defiantly proud after the attacks of September Eleven. We rightly felt the shock and horror of a brutal massacre and together we grieved the loss of innocent lives abruptly snuffed out by the acts of a band of morally deficient misfits leading some sort of holy war.
During those few months we were united in thought and deed; we shared a common a loss. Americans would have paid any price, gone to the farthest corners of the earth all to bring to heel those responsible for the wanton destruction that visited our shores on that fateful day. During those months we were determined, a moral nation, a nation that not only grieved but cared for survivors.
Alas, that feeling, that unity, that sense of brotherhood, that moral indignation for such wanton loss of life has faded. The winds and waters of Katrina tormented our cores but did little to heighten our resolve—New Orleans, especially the Ninth Ward remains a work unfinished and bears stark testimony of our moral deficiency.
What does it take to shock our consciousnesses? One would suppose that a monthly loss of life exceeding the numbers of September Eleven would instill in the hearts of each American a sense of caring, a sense of loss. These deaths are not at the hands of a foreign power or a crazed entity, but are deaths that could be prevented or postponed. These are people that die, Americans all; deaths directly related to the lack or denial of health insurance.
There is near universal acceptance across this country of a need for proper health insurance—a form of Medicare for all who choose—free choice. Americans from Maine to California, Democrats, Republicans, Independents and those without political orientation should care and be deeply offended that more than 45,000 Americans die each year from insurance related deaths. Americans, I believe, want to do right and revisit that moral high ground that came after September Eleven.
After months, nay years of intense arguments, some form of health insurance appears on the horizan. From this vantage point any health care bill that passes Congress will be at the hands of a group of elected representatives who owe their allegiance not to the people they represent, but to the few, the powerful elite that have by proxy purchased seats in Congress. The once proud Republican Party that garnered the admiration of the world by leading the fight against slavery leaves no doubt where their kinship lies in this cause. They, with a smattering of Democrats, inexorably and shamelessly proclaim a lustful preoccupation and admiration for the mighty—financial puppet masters from K Street who unambiguously exercise control in favor of the insurance industry.
Preventing health insurance for most Americans are all of the Republican members of Congress aided by a group of Blue Dog Democrats. Senators Lincoln and Pryor from Arkansas, Bayh from Indiana, Landrieu from Louisiana and Nelson from Nebraska seem prepared to place politics over principle. The Democratic Judas of the lot, however, is Joe Lieberman from Connecticut.
Senator Lieberman continues to be angry at losing a Democratic primary election in his home state where he had to ally with the Republican Party to hang on to his place in Congress. He must have secretly hoped that the election would have been close enough for him to be the deciding vote to determine which political party ruled the Senate—he would have gone with the Republicans. Instead he caucused with the Democrats who won an undisputed majority and almost immediately campaigned for John McCain.
Now, the once Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate is at the forefront of the fight to deny all Americans free choice when it comes to health insurance. He, and those who oppose free choice—Medicare for all--literally have the lives of 45,000 Americans in their hands. I would like to believe that the few who hold the destiny of so many might be willing to reject the mighty in favor of the weak even if it means losing an election.
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