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Imagine an old car which has been sitting in a meadow for long that a tree has grown, tall and thick, in the space occupied decades ago by its missing engine and hood.

Everyone agrees that it would be nice to restore the car.
Everyone has intended to do so, for as long as some of them have been alive, but no one has ever done it.

Finally, you decide to do it. You’re going to restore the car. After all, it’s sitting on your late grandfather’s land, and it is still a great car, despite the rust, opaque windows and hub-high sediment which has accumulated around it.

After talking about your plans at the neighborhood bar, you drive up beside the car, an aluminum ladder, fifteen metres of rope, a double-bit axe, twenty-litre can of gasoline and chainsaw in the bed of your pick-up.

As you get out of the pick-up, you notice a group of your neighbors—the ones who talked for decades about how the car should be restored, but turned not a tap—standing around three other pick-ups, drinking beer.

They immediately begin hectoring you: You haven’t brought enough gasoline. The chainsaw isn’t long enough. The ladder isn’t sturdy enough. That rope isn’t going to work. Your axe is dull.

Worse still, the group of loudmouths steals or hides each tool as you unload it., but after a protracted fight involving a few friends you call with your cell-phone, you manage to regain your tools.

Your neighbors continue to mercilessly hurl insults as you remove the tree, piece by piece, until the engine compartment is finally clear.
They wait until you slide under the car to attach tow-chains to the frame, and then begin kicking you in the balls as others in the group bounce on the rear-bumper, trying to break your ribs.

Luckily, they are all too drunk, you remembered to wear a cup and because it’s an old car, the ground-clearance is high enough that you only emerge with bruises.

After a protracted bout of fighting—you once again phone your friends—you manage to hook the chains to your pick-up’s trailer-hitch, inflate the ragged tires with a bottle of nitrogen and pull the car free.

You take the fine, but battered old car to a friend’s shop, where you will carry out the task of a frame-off restoration. You will bring this car back to its former glory.

The entire time you are working on the car, you have to contend with these “expert” neighbors, few of whom have ever done more than fill their cars’ gas-tanks and drive.

They throw rocks through the shop’s windows. They leave flaming paper-bags full of dog-crap on the driveway. On a few occasions, they even cut the lock on the breaker-box and turn the electricity off.

Despite their best—or worst—efforts, you eventually complete the restoration.
It hasn’t been easy, though. You had to rig a spray-booth inside the shop. Your friends had to bring you the parts as you purchased them, including the upholstery.

It’s been worth it, though. For the past few days, the group outside has grown progressively quieter and the car that formerly provided a home for a tree now looks as if it just rolled off of an assembly-line.

Misjudging your neighbors’ quietude for acquiescence to the reality that you’ve finally restored the car which everyone wanted to someday drive, but no one wanted to expend any effort upon, you roll open the shop’s main door and ease the car forward onto the driveway.

As you step out of the car to admire it in the sunlight, you suddenly realise that the group has simply been hiding along both sides of the shop.

One of them—a brash, ignorant man who had been particularly vituperative when you were cutting away the tree–shoots you in the chest with a large-caliber pistol, and everyone piles into the gleaming car.

Your vision begins to dim and you feel the heat draining from your body as the lazy thieves pull away with the product of your hard work.

The last thing you see is Kenworth truck destroying the car and killing everyone inside it.

For the thieves were so eager to escape with what was not theirs—that in which they had invested no real effort—that they blundered ahead, indifferent to the consequences.

They cared only about their short-term gain.

The car in this allegory is the United States, the protagonist is Barack Obama and the friends are the Democrats.

The heckling, drunken mob that ultimately resorts to thievery and kills the hardworking agent of restoration is the ultra-right.

I don’t just mean the GOP, but the “tea-baggers”, “birthers”, “death-panelists” and all those who would throw common decency and compassion under the bus for political gain.

When did it become patriotic to oppose the President because he is black, liberal, Democratic or whatever else he may be?
When did it become Christian to other Christians to pray for Obama’s death, for “his wife to be a widow and his children fatherless”?

When did it become Christian, patriotic or even acceptable to condemn society’s most vulnerable—children, the poor and the elderly—to lives of pain and misery, and deaths from preventable illnesses, in the name of “fiscal conservatism”?

The latest numbers show that the proposed health plan will lower our deficit during the next decade. It will increase productivity.

More importantly, what does it say about us as a nation, if we’re willing to do this?

On 26 September, I watched as more than two-thousand ill and fearful people crowded Houston’s Reliant Center, not for an exhibition of new technology or a chance to win a car, but the chance to see a doctor.

I saw natural-born U.S. citizens—most of whom were born in this very city—being treated in exam areas fashioned from curtains and cloth panels.

It was like being in a third-world nation, yet it was less than thirty kilometers from my parents’ house.

People received dental work, cardiac evaluations, treatment for diabetes and its related wounds. Some even received the news that it was too late; their cancers and cardiac disease could have been detected and treated with routine medical exams, but not now.

This scene has played out in other major cities, and has been funded by donations from a variety of organizations, including MSNBC.

During the past several months, I’ve noticed two things about the blistering, withering and increasingly deceptive criticism of the proposed health-care reform plan:

1—Those who yell the loudest tend to be well-insured. They tend to have stable employment, enjoy access to doctors, upon request and have nothing to lose from the health-care plan. I repeat…they have nothing to lose from the health-care plan.
We are trying to establish a two-tier system, not “socialized” medicine. These same scatologically fallacious arguments were used to oppose Medicare until it finally passed in the 1960’s

2—The Representatives, Senators and media pundits who criticize the plan the loudest haven’t anything constructive to say.
It’s easy enough to stand on the sidelines, beer in hand, and scream at players about their mother’s sexual prowness or their incestuous proclivities. Drunken football and baseball fans do this with depressing regularity.
It’s quite a different thing to say “no, that isn’t right…let’s do it this way”.
The right has offered no plan, no ideas to modify the proposed plan, other than attaching an amendment effectively banning abortions.

I welcome any criticism which my friends on the right may feel to be relevant, but it must be constructive criticism.

I do not want to hear:
1—The gospel according to Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly or Rush Limbaugh.
2—Anything Orly Taitz, Andrea Mackris, Representative Virginia Foxx, Sarah Palin or Representative Michele Bachmann have to say.
3—Anything from an Astroturf organization. (FreedomWorks and the 60 Plus Association are notable examples of this U.S. political subspecies.)

In short, I want a factual refutation of the plan, and by that, I mean you must have an alternative for every detail to which you object.

Think of this as a term-paper.

In fact, I don’t care if your response is lengthy enough that it requires a blog-entry.

Just send me the link to the blog, keep it open so that I may reply, and expect me to repost my reply on my blog.

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One Comment

  1. how do i join

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