Well folks greetings once again. It has been just over two years since I have tossed a few words onto the Broowaha communities' pages and since that time a great deal has changed here in Broowaha as well as everywhere else around me. I have been away from Broowaha and writing in public for that matter for a number of reasons I won't go into too much. But I felt that given the fervor in the US over healthcare reform it was high time I came out of hiding and once again offered up a few hundred words on the state of things as I see them in the country I call home.
Once again it would seem that the country is in an uproar and, it would appear, is nearly completely polarized over two hugely controversial issues, healthcare reform, and energy reform. It is no wonder as these issues are no small matters in a country with trillions of dollars of industry at stake. One thing is clear Obama sure made well and good on his promises to stir things up a bit. It didn't take very long either when he decided to begin to tackle these dooseys in his first six months. But did he truly know what he was getting into? Is it too much change too quickly? Or is something greater at stake in our country surfacing, something which Obama may have been planning all along?
Watching some of these seemingly normal hardworking Americans go off on their congressional representatives and seeing how passionate these issues are for people proves that this change is certainly big in this country. I daresay they are of much more importance to Americans than even our so called "global war on terror". It was announced with almost no media coverage last week that there is no more "War on Terror" that it is no longer a “Global" war or that it was not even a "Jihad" for the terrorists. Uh folks . . . that is huge!!! It was almost completely lost however in the massive barrage of healthcare discussion and coverage. Healthcare and energy, domestic issues, are more important in the eyes of the consuming public than the situation in the two countries we are at war with. Than a war!!! That has got to be a first. If this isn't amazing to you I don't know what could be? But is it really these issues solely that are in the heart of the protesters or media agencies.
I propose that something is happening at these town halls, which represents a battle over the very fabric of the country itself. The energy of hope and change is meeting head on against the energy of fear and anger. It is what happens when unstoppable forces collides with an immovable object, and believe me the explosion created from the impact, must be, and clearly is, immense.
So what does it all mean? Clearly there is a great deal of misinformation going around. Clearly there is also an effort to stifle reasonable discourse about the actual issues themselves replaced with emotional outbursts. This is the exact style in fact of the years we have been living in for the first decade of the twentieth century under the Bush presidency and the republican congress. During that time even I myself was guilty of acting and feeling both scared for my country and angry at the state of things and believe me I voiced such. Here in this forum and indeed finally everywhere else I went with a bullhorn even if I had to.
Perhaps because I spent time working with hundreds of people face to face in the public, I have been community organizing for a non-profit organization, I began to slowly see a change coming over this country and I will be the first to admit even myself. That change took tangible form with the election of Barack Obama our first African-American President. Elected from virtually nowhere, fighting and winning a battle both in his own party and finally to the highest office in the land, he came simply but with a message fully steeped in the emotions of change and hope.
Now I don’t know if it is just me but I think I would rather live happy and hopeful than angry and fearful, would you? This is the true difference that we are seeing in the politics of Washington. Say what you will about what is taking place in these town hall meetings but the fact is you are saying anything about a town hall meeting in the first place. Did anyone talk about these things before? There is discussion back in politics even if that discussion seems a bit emotional at first it is finally happening. Whether you agree or disagree with the plans or even with your politicians themselves they are listening to us again. In that discourse what is by and large made to look foolish is the old style words utilizing fear and ignorance opposing itself to simple rational and positive debate. That is good both for democracy and indeed for America as a whole.
That is something to feel good about in America for a change. Sure we see nutcases from the far Left such as the Larouche crowd screaming and shouting about Obama being a Nazi and nut cases from the far right toting assault rifles and the usual abortion propaganda as that is what the media loves to focus on. However, it is what is going on inside the room past the screen that weeds out the wacked, which truly matters in our country. In there we are working this out in discourse and democracy and working together even if it can get a bit raucous as well. This is truly what it means to be a patriotic American.
Finally an interesting Gallup poll came out this week which showed that America was basically split right down the middle on the question of whether the Obama plan which included a public option for healthcare reform was good for Americans. Then the plan was actually spelled out and explained to the same people polled and they were asked once again what they thought. The same people were then roughly 70% in favor of the reform as it stood with Obama's plan.
For me that gives the greatest hope for our country, something which I haven't had for far too many years. Not because we are by large in favor of something that I must admit I agree with but because we Americans are talking to each other and discussing and truly thinking about our political life. This is something we haven't done in far too long. The fact is hope, reason, and optimism will always defeat fear and suppression, and pessimism. This was once a core belief we held so powerfully it allowed us to defeat fascism, slavery, and even win us our freedom in the very first place. It is good to have it back again. It was definately missed.
Hold on to the hope my friends. Change is surely, sorely coming.