Some thoughts on last nights speech…Liars, Illegal Immigrants, Jesus Christ & Money Changers
by Davey D
Its been a long time since we heard from the President Barack Obama who many of us enthusiastically elected into office. It was the Obama who was passionate, inspiring, hopeful and clear. It was an Obama who wasn’t capitulating and forever apologizing. It was good to hear President Obama for once directly take on his critics and dispel many of the myths, lies and distortions that have plagued aspects of his Health Reform Bill… We give President Obama an ‘A’ for style and an ‘A’ for effort…
We’re still evaluating to see if he can execute and deliver. As he spoke, weighing in the back of my mind as well as on the minds of those who I sat around and tweeted with, was senior advisor Van Jones being forced to resign after enduring two or three weeks of relentless attacks from Fox News pundits and far right opponents. We didn’t see or hear an impassioned Obama put up a strong defense for Jones, a man he went and sought out for the job of overseeing his Green Jobs policies.
It was hard not to imagine what phrase or excerpt of last night’s speech would be lifted, dissected and used as cannon fodder to force President Obama to backpedal. It’s hard not to be cynical when we’ve seen that his opponents will not let up while President Obama has seemingly worked overtime to bend over backwards and be accommodating. But as was noted we’re still evaluating.
At this point in time, if President Obama is able to get through a Healthcare Bill that has a strong public option then that will be a good thing. It’ll be a good thing from where we sit right now where everything is in disarray and a Democratic dominated House and Senate are divided with so called Blue Dog Dems going at it with Progressive Dems. Dems who are middle of the road have been floundering between Fox News inspired lies and talking points and 30 second soundbites for various aspects of an 1100 word document that they’ve amassed for themselves.
Single-Payer and support for HR 676 Medicare for All bill should’ve been what was being discussed last night, but alas such was not the case. Maybe next time. Maybe next time after all those who enthusiastically put Obama in the White House with the expectation that he would fulfill his pledge to bring something like Single-payer to fruition will redirect that enthusiasm into an action plan that would force him and every other elected official to do what they feel is right.
One interesting aspect of Obama’s speech was the brief disruption caused by South Carolina Republican congressman Joe Wilson who yelled out ‘You Lie’ when President Obama said that any bill he signed would not extend healthcare benefits to ‘illegal immigrants’. A lot has been made about Congressman Wilson being disrespectful and violating the rules of the chamber. One is not supposed to heckle.
A lot has been made about his apology. He called and spoke to President Obama’s chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel and explained that he let his emotions get the best of him-Yeah right. From where I sit, Wilson’s yell was a calculated move designed to get him face time and praise among far right dingle berries nut sacks who thrive off such things. He’s a hero in their eyes.
What hasn’t been talked about were the moans and groans of many outside the room who wanted to know why would we not want to make sure everyone who is here is not taken care of.. I sent off a tweet which reflected the sentiment of many I know..
I don’t know about Obama not helping out immigrants.. Human Beings need health coverage-Illegal immigrants are pilgrims & settlers
Needless to say this set off a flurry of responses as folks began debating. The main argument against helping out immigrants were that we have enough problems and not enough resources, hence ‘let those people fend for themselves’. People were quick to point out that all countries have immigration laws and so should we hence we should not be helping illegals immigrants. Most countries have comprehensive health reform, many of them in the form of single-payer, but such retorts seemed to fall on deaf ears. People kept insisting that we simply didn’t have enough to pay for the health of millions of people who don’t belong here..
Former Vice Presidential candidate Rosa Clemente of the Green Party finally jumped in and responded to the pervasive question; ‘How can we pay for all this’?
“STOP FUNDING WARS CUT MILITARY BUDGET IN HALF AND HEALTHCARE CAN BE COVERED, come on yall this is america, the empire of the world, stop acting like there isn’t money to give people their damn human right of HEALTHCARE, and any immigrant bashing by other people of color is disgusting and should not be tolerated at alll!!!! Only people not immigrants up in here are INDIGENOUS PEOPLE and Africans descendants that were taken on a middle passage…”
Clemente’s remarks were sobering but the debate raged on as some took an angry and somewhat dismissive tone as they insisted that in no uncertain terms immigrants here illegally should be provided healthcare. Some made it seem like that the reason our healthcare system is in a crises is because of immigrants and we need to close the border.
I found such thoughts a bit confusing, because my experience has been that those who live near the borders often cross them to get cheaper and often times free healthcare and medicine. Sure if someone is an accident they’ll go to the nearest emergency room, but when it comes to getting medicine, glasses and other supplies, folks are crossing into Mexico in the south and Canada in the North. Those who are undocumented will definitely send someone over to get whats needed. But lets not digress too much.
The basic point here is we live in a society where we routinely come in contact with one another and have undocumented folks picking our fruits and vegetables, working in restaurants and in our homes, we would want them to be healthy. We would want whoever is in the back of that restaurant to feel comfortable and welcome into getting healthcare at the first sign of illness. It would be tragic to see that some new communicable swine flu/eboli like disease popped up because someone was forbidden from seeing a doctor and what started out to be small and preventable morphed into something massive and out of control. My warning to folks was becareful for what you wish for…
Another point that raised to those who were feeling high and mighty about us as a country helping immigrants was the proverbial ‘What Would Jesus Do’? We are a nation that prides itself on being rooted in Christian values. Would Jesus who routinely crossed borders and administered aid to people no matter what Holy day or Holy time it was, be asking folks for an insurance card? Could you imagine that? Why are we so quick to praise him and then turn around reject some basic principles he always upheld which was tending to the sick and needy.
Author and former Vibe Magazine columnist Cristina Veran raised the stakes on my Jesus question by challenging the churches to step their game up and get more involved in this healthcare crises. She asked “Why can’t every church/temple/mosque collectively sponsor a physician ???”
Those sponsored doctors would be responsible for helping out everyone in the community. She cited an example of where this works in Lima, Peru. “The church in my familia’s ‘hood in Lima, Peru has an office with a doctor there several days a week to see people in the neighborhood. I think it cost me $5 for a visit, a few years back. Here, a church could sponsor 2 or 3 days a week for a physician to see patients, referring them elsewhere if need be for further attention/tests/etc.”.
Conrad Tillard who was once dubbed the Hip Hop Minister added to the discussion when he wrote; “… churches can do this far more effectively when young progressive, aware people become members of churches and vote and financially support the church to be more progressive. “Churches ARE ONLY BUILDINGS,THE “CHURCH” is made up of the people that are apart of that organization. I would say brother Davey, “People need to STEP UP THEIR GAME ,join the Churches and other institution and get this done”
Throughout the evening people tweeted and posted up examples of how churches in various neighborhoods around the country where doing this. Others reminded us that this is what groups like the Black Panthers did. They opened up Free clinics. Others pointed out that one prominent church that excelled in doing this was Trinity Church which was home to Pastor Jeremiah Wright and where Barack Obama was spiritually mentored.
As this healthcare debate rolls on and this bill gets crafted, one has to wonder to what extent have these churches who trying to fill a void, been involved or consulted. At the very least we need to see some sort of network for them. Is there an iphone app for that? Is there an app that allows me to find out what churches have healthcare facilities in each city?
On a more serious note, too much of this healthcare debate has centered around money and profits, where all we hear about is how much and who is going to pay. Healthcare should not be about money. It should be a moral issue. It should be a spiritual thing. The Jesus Christ I know would not be at a townhall yelling ‘Fuck the Poor’ in front of a cheering crowd.. This happened a few weeks ago in Danville, California. He wouldn’t be telling people close the borders and turning people away and I mentioned he wouldn’t be asking for your insurance card. Why are we? If anything he might have that righteous anger kick up which would have him turning over tables and chasing out the money changers.
Back in Jesus’ day the money changers were scumbags who sat up in front of the temple demanding money so folks could hear the word of God. They were the nutjobs trying to prevent us from getting ‘spiritual healing’ . Today the money changers are the folks collecting coinage and preventing us from getting physically healthy. I hope President Obama goes back to his religious roots and starts chasing these pharmacutical and health insurance companies (the new money changers) out the proverbial temple.. All of us have a right to live and be healthy…
something to ponder