What more could you ask for?
This post isn’t about Democrats, really, except to say that there is talent out there, on the inner-tubes, and good ideas can be gleaned with a little effort. I say this because of both Southern Beale and Tiny Cat Pants called out our State party over it’s incestuous, patriarchal, elitist, and dare I say…white bred nature, and they were right to do so. I don’t have much to add, but I did read something in the comments section over at TPM that I thought was clever and useful for campaigning Democrats. The thread was about Pawlenty’s suicidal line in the sand over the Ryan medicare plan, and someone referred to it as “coupon care.” This is what the other side does so well. They pay mad money to hucksters who are adept at reducing complicated legislative proposals into bumper-sticker sized slogans, which usually appeal to the lowest common denominator. I don’t like to play that game, but at the moment, its the one being played, and we continue to come in last at it. They will not stop doing it until we beat them at it repeatedly. Six Vanderbilt grads with little non-academic life experience, sitting in a comfy room, isn’t likely to brainstorm their way to election day landslides. Also, if I may, if you continually lose in a specific county, maybe its time to spend a little time there to see if the State-wide, cookie cutter hack-a-thon (thanks Josh!) campaign template is a good fit for the people who actually live and vote there. Thats all I got.
Alright, speaking of the comments section over at TPM, I read something there today that spoke to me:
“Having watched both of my parents outlive their health and their cognitive faculties by several heartbreaking years, the notion that I should bend heaven and earth to live as long as humanly possible now makes much less sense to me. As a result, I no longer worry so much about that marbled steak or the glass of scotch, or what my cholesterol levels are. If I pop off shoveling the sidewalk at 78, so be it. It beats the hell out of ending up as pathetic and miserable as my Dad did.”
I’m right there with him/her. This won’t make me popular with many people, but we really have an inflated sense of entitlement with respect to how long we should continue to take up space on this planet. What system can we come up with that will keep people not just alive, but relatively pain-free well into their 90’s, but doesn’t drain their financial resources? Something has to give. I don’t blame people for wanting to live every minute they can, I have children and grandchildren and good friends and I want to be around them for as long as possible. Here is my beef…if my fondness for tequila causes my liver to give up when I’m say, 75, is it fair to expect that the State or Federal govt pay for a transplant? If I decide not to burden working people with that expense, and I have a few bucks I’d like to pass on to my kids to give them a leg up, shouldn’t I have a right to go into a room, with a doctor, and ease out on my own terms? I mean, of course I’d be responsible for the co-pay….
I have real trouble protecting the Medicare status quo. It simply isn’t sustainable in it’s current form. I have an 80 yr old relative that saw a doctor for knee pain, and within an hour could have scheduled two knee replacements and a hip replacement. He’s 80. I don’t begrudge him the surgery, he worked his whole life and payed his taxes and I love him beyond measure, but there is no way that doctor would have suggested to proceed if the patient in front of him wasn’t on Medicare. Was it possible that a single knee might have taken the strain off of his hip and other knee? Could drugs and therapy alleviate his symptoms long enough for him to go on about his business? I can’t blame the doctor, he may still be paying back a quarter million in school costs and surgeons pay a ridiculous amount of money for malpractice insurance. Were I in his shoes, I’d conduct every test imaginable, as long as Medicare was paying.
Bah, this is so tough to write about. There are hard questions that never get debated, and thats not likely to change for quite some time. I guess all we can do is act according to our own ethical boundaries, whatever those may be.
I’m sitting here laughing at myself because my first paragraph was rant about how we don’t best utilize catch phrases and dog-whistles to beat our political opponents, yet everything that followed lamented the sad state of affairs surrounding the Medicare debate, or lack of it.
I’m a riddle.