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    Volume 9 Issue 13| March 26, 2010|

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Writing the Wrong

It's Monday Morning: I am (Cautiously) In Love (Again)

Sharbari Ahmed

President Obama, champion of the common American Man.

The above is an interpretation of the title of a song by the Cure. Speaking of cures and panaceas, last night at 10:47 p.m. EST the House passed a hard fought health care reform bill that might become the defintive symbol of Obama's term in office. Lord knows it's not going to be bringing peace to the Middle East as he prepares to address AIPAC, the most powerful pro-Israeli lobby in the world, and meet with Netenyahu, who refuses to stop the building of illegal settlements in the Gaza Strip or end the years long blockade that is effectively starving children to death. It appears that while the Nobel Laureate is making strides in certain areas, he is at a virtual standstill in others, namely anything to do with that part of the world. Or peace in general. This is where one would insert an LOL, laugh out loud in cyber speak, only it would be a pained, ironic laugh. More troops are being sent to Afghanistan and I am not sure the fracas that was caused by VP Biden's criticism of Israeli settlement building these past two weeks really had an impact on Netyanahu's government except on their Chosen People egos. Obama also adressed the people of Iran on the eve of the holiday Nowruz, saying essentially, happy holidays and, oh your government stinks and we want to do everything we can to get rid of them. Just giving you a heads up. He also, of course, condemned the killing of various protesters. In the end, however, one can be clear that he is sending a pointed message to Ahmedinajad and his administration: behave or we will bomb you.

This health care reform bill paints Obama as a champion of the common American man. The GOP, of course, will attach a Soviet era sickle and hammer to any memoir or tome written about this period in American history. They are determined to spin this bill as illustrative of the socialist scourge that is the current administration. Remember what happened the last time a segment of the government used Socialism or Communism has a potential threat to national security? The House Un-American Activities (a ridiculous name for a government body) was established and black lists prepared and, oh, the Vietnam War was begun! Not to mention the manical building of fallout shelters in middle America.

The latest GOP nightmare sqeaked by; 219 votes to 212. Some, myself included, wonder if a Faustian Bargain has been made by the White House and Nancy Pelosi, who is now the latest, unfortunate focus of Republican vitriol. The RNC established a site called “No More Madame Speaker” with a suggested donation of $40. The goal is to “raise $402, 010 in 40 hours to win 40 seats in 2010(source:huliq.com).” According to Huliq News, as of 7:35 am this morning, March 22nd, the site has raised $190,690! A clear indication of how many Americans are not behind social reform and never will be.

Pelosi was scrambling at the last minute to secure support for the bill, which will cost 940 million dollars over roughly ten years, and calls for, among other things: expansion of health care coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans. She got the support of Rep. Bart Stupak (D-IL), who is an ardent pro-life advocate. He stipulated and the White House agreed that no federal tax dollars can put towards abortions. I have been unable to find out if this would include the termination of pregnancies that are the product of rape or incest or deemed life threatening to the mother. Logic would follow that the latter falls under a legitimate medical issue and, therefore, must be covered, and the formers, though just as legitimate, would not be. I still remember the case of a pre-teen Indian-American girl who had been raped by her brother and impregnated and not allowed to have the pregnancy terminated because she lived in the South, and a state that did not allow abortion under any circumstances. This is the great democracy that we live in. That being said, given how much rancorous debate this bill has ignited in the country, it is expected some huge compromises had to be made by the White House. My question would be: is this particular compromise too great? Does it not seem one step forward and three steps back? I ask it because I am not sure, of course. What is to be gained by this bill, in the end, might far outweigh what the Dems had to give up. I suppose this is the test of active leadership and sweeping social change.

The road is still bumpy and long for Obama. I walked into the local Starbucks this morning at 8 am to see a huddle of privileged white masses, discussing the previous night's vote. “As usual, I get stuck footing the bill for others,” said one man in a navy blue J-Crew or Brook Brothers (I am assuming) pullover. A diminutive, wrinkled, sunburned woman (she looked like she owns a yacht, hence the potential melanoma forming on the bridge of her perky upturned nose) expressed outrage over what she described as a segment of the American population who would now be getting a free ride. “I guess we all have to move to Bridgeport,” a man said in response. This is an extremely racist remark, as Bridgeport is a predominatly working class black and Hispanic city. I am inferring that he and his compatriots assume that the citizens riding the free ride train are all poor coloreds. Imagine if illegal immigrants (some of whom toil in their gardens and kitchens) were covered in this bill as well. There would be riots on the streets of Westport, CT.

I stood staring at them, clutching my grande triple mocha, opening and closing my mouth like a suffocating carp because I wanted so bady to chastise them and then stopping myself. I have sparred with many strangers on numerous occaisons. As someone once remarked, “It's amazing, Sharbari, that you have not spent time in jail, given how often you have engaged in verbal combat with random people.” In the end, I let it go, firstly because, I meditate now and want to save my energy for other battles, and secondly because how would it help anyone? The whole point in the end is to be useful is it not? Though, I did relish the thought of taking on a phalynx of white Republicans single handedly in a Starbucks. There were all old, I could've taken at least the sunburned woman. I could have drop kicked her and then said, “Oops! I'm sure your insurance will cover that!”

Well Cheers to you Mr. President. I am heartened by this momentous, if imperfect landmark bill. Now if you could only stop the Israelis from killing Palestinian children on a regular basis and start pulling American boys and girls out of all the useless wars we are waging, you will have actually earned that prize. I am keeping an eye on you. Let's see what happens with AIPAC.


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