Talking about big problems, like healthcare

by Rob Tiller

What strange political times we live in!  The lunatic fringe has seized the Republican party and is spewing forth venom and hysteria about the just-passed health care reform law.  With the new law, we moved some, but not a lot, in the direction of a more humane society.  It’s hard to believe any one thinks that this augers dramatic social change, either positive or negative.  But there’s a vocal minority that believe passionately that the law portends the end of democracy.  Some subgroup of that minority is advocating violent resistance.  This is craziness, and a bit scary.

It would certainly be possible to worry all the time about this and other big problems (global warming, nuclear and non-nuclear war, economic meltdown, political corruption, jihadism, failed states & etc.).   But worrying by itself doesn’t change anything, and is itself bad for your health.   What’s needed is dialog, plans for action, and action.  But it’s hard even to have a dialog.  Politics has become polarized, so that people who disagree find it difficult even to talk.  It’s unclear how we got into this box, and unclear how we get out.  But at a minimum, we need to try more talking.

Sally and I finally got around to watching Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth last week.  The basic message is now familiar to most of those willing to listen to it, and certainly familiar to us.  And the facts about global warming aren’t getting any better.  But it was inspiring to hear again the story of Al Gore, a failed presidential candidate, who passionately pursued an issue that he thought was vital.  He stayed with the message for years and played an important role on getting it onto the agenda.  I really admire him for that.  Now we’ve got to address the problem.