• An Inevitable Miracle?

    • Posted on Jul 02, 2017

    This morning's Courier column--the case for Medicare for All as inevitable, given the current aborted repeal and replace--which was always misguided.      

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                Another early July, another wave of love for country, a.k.a. patriotism.  July 4th, that is, with a day for fireworks, picnics, and patriots. 

                Time was.

                Now, not so much. Now we’re like an estranged couple still living together, but not speaking except to protect our separate turfs. Without attitude changes, divorce looms. 

                We’re not there yet, but we’re on track to get there.  A steady 38 percent of our fellow citizens still think “Make American Great Again” actually means something besides empty posturing.  That same group cannot be convinced anything’s really wrong with Republicans except Democrats’ opposition.  They’re followers and fans who seem to have suspended their critical faculties.

                I do remember when it was worse, when citizens were fighting in the streets over an unwinnable war, when a genuinely crooked leader instigated a burglary for political gain, when students were being killed for protesting. It was traumatic. 

                Compared to that late sixties nightmare, we’re only having a bad dream.  Perhaps we’ll wake up, come together, stretch, and start solving problems of health care, infrastructure, climate change,   nuclear-armed lunatics, and terrorism.  That would make for a July 4th worth celebrating.

                But for this holiday, it’s nonstop lying at the top and political paralysis, leaving problems unsolved and unfaced.  Mourning seems more in order than celebrating. 

                Yet there’s another possibility for hope. Unforeseen major events happen, “black swans” that change our world forever. 9-11 was such a cataclysmic black swan, as was Pearl Harbor. 

                Not all black swans are negative, however. Miracles, the opposite of cataclysms, occasionally arise with little warning.

                The Salk vaccine removed the horror of polio in the 1950s which terrorized my childhood, and the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1980s relieved suffering for millions.  Romanians were happily surprised in 1989 when their brutal dictator Ceausescu was deposed and executed.

                So a miracle is possible, and now one seems downright inevitable, thanks to the Trumpcare debacle.

                Medicare for all is coming. Trumpcare—Obamacare minus compassion— seems doomed, either sooner from divided Republicans, or later from Democrats who would almost certainly mount a repeal-and replace effort should Trumpcare pass.

              At some point, what has been obvious to a majority of Americans will occur to politicians: Private insurance doesn’t work in the health care arena.  Never has, never will.  Every other developed country has provided national health as a public right, like clean air, water, and safe food.

                Health care as a right, not a commodity. 

                This means lower costs, because a national healthcare system can negotiate prices with serious leverage for treatment and drugs.   It also brings ease of access, universal coverage, and radically less paperwork—without competing for-profit insurance companies.   

                In fact, with all these pluses, the few problems with universal Medicare seem like minor inconveniences.

                When Trumpcare fails—not if—universal Medicare will inevitably emerge as the best alternative.

                That will be worth celebrating.   

               

               

               

               

                 

               

                

                                                                                               

    Another early July, another wave of love for country, a.k.a. patriotism.  July 4th, that is, with a day for fireworks, picnics, and patriots. 

                Time was.

                Now, not so much. Now we’re like an estranged couple still living together, but not speaking except to protect our separate turfs. Without attitude changes, divorce looms. 

                We’re not there yet, but we’re on track to get there.  A steady 38 percent of our fellow citizens still think “Make American Great Again” actually means something besides empty posturing.  That same group cannot be convinced anything’s really wrong with Republicans except Democrats’ opposition.  They’re followers and fans who seem to have suspended their critical faculties.

                I do remember when it was worse, when citizens were fighting in the streets over an unwinnable war, when a genuinely crooked leader instigated a burglary for political gain, when students were being killed for protesting. It was traumatic. 

                Compared to that late sixties nightmare, we’re only having a bad dream.  Perhaps we’ll wake up, come together, stretch, and start solving problems of health care, infrastructure, climate change,   nuclear-armed lunatics, and terrorism.  That would make for a July 4th worth celebrating.

                But for this holiday, it’s nonstop lying at the top and political paralysis, leaving problems unsolved and unfaced.  Mourning seems more in order than celebrating. 

                Yet there’s another possibility for hope. Unforeseen major events happen, “black swans” that change our world forever. 9-11 was such a cataclysmic black swan, as was Pearl Harbor. 

                Not all black swans are negative, however. Miracles, the opposite of cataclysms, occasionally arise with little warning.

                The Salk vaccine removed the horror of polio in the 1950s which terrorized my childhood, and the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1980s relieved suffering for millions.  Romanians were happily surprised in 1989 when their brutal dictator Ceausescu was deposed and executed.

                So a miracle is possible, and now one seems downright inevitable, thanks to the Trumpcare debacle.

                Medicare for all is coming. Trumpcare—Obamacare minus compassion— seems doomed, either sooner from divided Republicans, or later from Democrats who would almost certainly mount a repeal-and replace effort should Trumpcare pass.

              At some point, what has been obvious to a majority of Americans will occur to politicians: Private insurance doesn’t work in the health care arena.  Never has, never will.  Every other developed country has provided national health as a public right, like clean air, water, and safe food.

                Health care as a right, not a commodity. 

                This means lower costs, because a national healthcare system can negotiate prices with serious leverage for treatment and drugs.   It also brings ease of access, universal coverage, and radically less paperwork—without competing for-profit insurance companies.   

                In fact, with all these pluses, the few problems with universal Medicare seem like minor inconveniences.

                When Trumpcare fails—not if—universal Medicare will inevitably emerge as the best alternative.

                That will be worth celebrating.   

               

               

               

               

                 

               

                

    Go comment!
    Posted in
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    • Hot Button Issues
    • Predictions
    • Conservatives/Liberals
  • Silver Lining in the Trump Cloud?

    • Posted on Feb 05, 2017

    Today's Courier column--there really will be some good to come of Trumpdom--and it will come from the artists, writers, filmmakers, creators of all stripes.  

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Even the blackest clouds contain streaks of light, those silver linings we need during terrible storms.  Are there silver linings over Trumpland? 

    When times are crazy, when everything seems upside down, when fools get power and destroy most certainties, creative arts flourish.  The American sixties, a decade of protest and turmoil, produced a flood of music and art that lives on.

    It’s happening again.

    Consider:

    • All expectations are off.  Civility, rationality, trustworthy leaders, even simple factual truths have been disappearing like frost on a sunny morning.   We’re seeing rank amateur “politicians”—billionaires—put in charge of huge, complex government operations that will certainly suffer from their ignorance and arrogance. Even Republicans are protesting, and some will certainly defect.  

    As of this writing, after ten days of Trump: chaos and protests worldwide, with no end in sight.  Protests mean marches, music, slogans, drama, all of which are grist for artists and art, and more power to them.

    • Apathy, that bane of good times, has disappeared.  Everyone has taken a stand,some with utter certainty that “alternate facts” support their leader, others who insist that proven facts stay proven.  A comeuppance is on the way, and artists are watching. 
    • Activists are getting busy.   Shortly after the election, “Cedar Valley Activates,”  a group of local citizens concerned with taking local action, was born out of a desire to tackle real problems—instead of complaining.  

    At their first meeting in Cedar Falls on December 4, well over a hundred citizens showed up and formed groups focused on health care, children’s health, poverty, environmental degradation, alternate energy, mental illness treatments—all issues that need attention in the Cedar Valley. 

    They met in Waterloo in January, and they will gather again at the end of February to connect with local agencies to help find solutions. And they’re determined to stay non-partisan.   

    According to organizer Eric Giddens, “We want to stay as apolitical as possible,” he told me, “Since we’re all in this together, cooperation is the only way to get things done.”

    Hard to argue with that.

    • People are having to decide where they stand.  Wishy-washy won’t cut it any more.   I vividly remember having to rethink my own ideas in the late sixties when the Vietnam War was gearing up.  I read, listened, discussed, argued, formed opinions, and helped support worthwhile causes.  I felt alive and challenged, as I do now.  

                I’m excited to ponder more, read alternative sources, engage more, create more blogs and other writings.    

    So turmoil isn’t all bad.  

                As Harry Lime, the Orson Welles character in the 1949 film noir classic, “The Third Man”  put it,

     "You know what the fellow said--– in Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock!”

    Let our Renaissance begin. 

    Go comment!
    Posted in
    • Politics
    • Predictions
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“Even before the advent of the Internet, Cawelti’s columns went 'viral' in the Cedar Valley… the role of a columnist is to be thought provoking, to take tacks that shed a different light on an issue or possibly cause a reader to reevaluate a position. At the very least, it should bring clarity to a particular perspective, whether you buy into the commentator’s worldview or not.

Scott's work does just that.  Enjoy this collection of his writing.”

-Saul Shapiro, Former Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier Editor
Read Shapiro's entire introduction.

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