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Brown v. Coakley

Wow, Massachusetts. Wow. I didn’t know you had it in you to elect an R. As a liberal, it pains me to see health care reform put in question just as it is getting close to resolution. As a conservative, I’m glad to see that a super-majority no longer exists in the Senate. Yes, I did just refer to myself as both a liberal and a conservative. Because I am. And so are you.

I really hate the mass stereotypification of politics, because it glosses over so many important, salient details of real life in America. Like the fact that it is possible to want health care reform without wanting government control of one’s every move; that it is possible to support healthy national security without requiring invasion of other countries or treating non-Americans, well, tortuously. Like the truth that politics, and government, and big business, and small business, and non-profits, and individual people are filled with a mixture of failure and success, corruption and honesty. In politics, as in life, balance and compromise are the key, as is an unfaltering desire to grow, change, learn, and pay attention.

So whether you think today’s special election was a victory or a defeat, there is still much work to be done. If 60 votes cannot be found for a health care reform bill, perhaps a bill should be written that would not require 60 votes to pass. Or other compromises should be found in order to regain the needed 60 votes. My point is that we would have a lot to gain as a country by refusing to allow ourselves to become polarized so easily, refusing to align ourselves so deeply with an ideology that we forget what we actually believe, and rejecting the idea that “change”, or “truth”, or “freedom” can only be promoted by and defended by and entrusted to one specific political party or way of thinking. Perhaps, just maybe, if we could think and act as if these things were supposed to be promoted and defended by none other than ourselves, we could learn to work together, build consensus through compromise, and actually get something done. Maybe.

Now to my favorite topic…

When it rains, it pours. Literally. Today, 1.55 inches of rain fell at SFO. This may not seem like much to anyone who has lived east of the Mississippi, but out here in the west that is a huge number, one that eclipses the previous one-day record by nearly 50%. I can tell you that today’s storms, starting at 4 am, and continuing as I write, are the strongest I have seen since moving to California almost 5 years ago. I hope the levees hold.

2 comments to Brown v. Coakley

  • Thanks for your thoughtful commentary, Joel. I’m mostly pained about the election results, and disappointed that our country can’t seem to figure out how to agree on how best to help itself. It’s a bit disillusioning when even a president like Obama, who had so much support and goodwill behind him–and even the famed filibuster-proof majority–can’t seem to tackle this issue.

    Good luck with the rain.

  • Joel

    I am in full agreement; I wish that a health care bill could have passed before now, because the game is definitely changed. It will be a longer, harder battle. What disillusions me are the painful truths of politics, i.e. that the collective will can shift so quickly, usually for very illogical reasons. For example, “Obama has been in office for a year with a democratic supermajority, and , so he and the democrats must be doing a terrible job. Let’s vote them out and bring real change to Washington.”

    It would be much better if we could pay attention to what has been attempted and accomplished so far, and hold our politicians accountable for what they actually do, rather than relying on rumors, hearsay, and party-line dogma. For example, http://www.recovery.gov has lots of information about where and how the ARRA money is being spent, and we have the Obama administration to thank for this new level of transparency.

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