Monday, March 22, 2010

Jim weighs in on Health Care just in time for Passover.

My friend Jim Kunstler, fellow architect/urban planner as well as knowledgeable peak oil investigator, has in his usual brunt and abrasive style (against which I am surely a rank amateur) blogged about the Health Care Reform vote yesterday. I here present to you excerpts from his rather lengthy post (yes, there actually are some people out there who write longer posts than I do!).

I do this as the last commentary I will post before the end of Passover, because I believe the Health Care Reform movement is a watershed moment in US History the same way Pesach was in Jewish history. People often remember the first part of Moshe's cry in God's name but forget the second: "Let My people go - that they may serve Me!" Freedom was not a license for anarchy nor "rugged individualism." To be God's people, those who came out of Bondage had to form just and compassionate society. Often commandments are prefaced in the Tanakh with the words "...because you were once slaves in Egypt." We are to remember what it is like to have no hope and no choices, and not let those conditions prevail, wherever we may be.

So Passover represents a time when we have to choose - either go our own way and be lost or choose go in the way of God which leads to the promised land. We either toss aside compassion for others to be for ourselves in a world of sin, or choose to be part of a living community of righteousness that safeguards the widows, fatherless, poor and sick. Too many Americans have chosen the former instead of the latter, rejecting the opportunity to be part of God's people - however they may believe that to be - in order to be their own god, rejecting faith, rejecting the social contract, and refusing to be part of the community of brothers. "Hinei ma tov uma nayim, shevet achim gam yachad." How good and pleasant it is when people dwell together in unity - and how terrible it is when they turn their backs on their obligations to their fellow citizens when they cry out in pain and fear and hopelessness.

James Howard Kunstler
The Party of Cruelty
Monday March 22, 2010

It was amusing to see the Republican party inveigh against health insurance reform as if they were a synod of Presbyterian necromancers girding the nation for a takeover by the spawn of hell. This was the same gang, by the way, who championed the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, then regarded as the most reckless giveaway of public funds in human history. Along the way, they enlisted an army of nay-sayers representing everything dark, disgraceful, and ignorant in the American character. If the Republicans keep going this way, they'll end up with something worse than Naziism: a party that hates everything but believes in absolutely nothing.

The most striking elements of so-called health care in America these days is how cruel and unjust it is, and in taking a stand against reforming it the Republican party appeared to be firmly in support of cruelty and injustice. This would be well within the historical tradition of other religious crusades which turned political -- such as the Spanish Inquisition and the seventeenth century war against witchcraft...

...Now a health care reform act has passed and there's some reason to hope that insurance companies will be prevented from doing things like canceling the coverage of policy-holders who have the impertinence to actually get sick, which has been their main device for revenue enhancement...

...At least this once a workable majority in the government has stood up to the forces of cruelty and injustice...

...I hope that Mr. Obama's party can carry this message clearly into the electoral battles ahead, painting the Republican opposition for what it is: a gang of hypocritical, pietistic sadists, seeking pleasure in the suffering of others while pretending to be Christians, devoid of sympathy, empathy, or any inclination to simple human kindness, constant breakers of the Golden Rule, enemies of the common good. In fact, the current edition of the Republican party has achieved something really memorable in the annals of collective bad intentions: they have managed to create a sense of the public interest whose main goal is the destruction of the public interest...

...And so, naturally Republicans gravitate toward superstition and the traditional devices of improvident religious authorities -- persecution of the weak, torture, denial of due process, and dogmas designed to spread hatred...

...We're facing a comprehensive contraction of wealth and economy that is going to challenge every shared virtue in our national soul, and we're not going to meet these difficulties successfully without a sense of mutual obligation and sympathy for each other. The Republican party is just itching to turn a giant thumbscrew on the US public -- that is, before they try to start burning their enemies at the stake. We understand that the Health Care Reform Act is a first stand against that.


Chag Sameach Pesach!

May God look upon us all favorably in the New Year of Redemption.


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