Sunday, January 24, 2010

accepting the changing tides

I suppose if aliens safely landed on a beach near my home they would be up against a brief learning curve as regards mother earth. In the morning, looking out over the Atlantic Ocean, they would observe the tides retreating and perhaps think that the world is changing. The afternoon would bring the waves crashing back to shore and they may be puzzled. Sunset and the ensuing nightfall may appear as an indication of change once more. Then, within a couple of days, the aliens would probably feel confident in their understanding of this world. They would know, that what at first seemed like change, was instead acknowledgement of the ebb and flow of this celestial body in motion.

The National Football League’s AFC championship game, which re-matched the Indianapolis Colts and the NY Jets today, reminded me of this underlying world order. For today, the Colts did not meddle with the universe. Star players were not going to be allowed to leave the game early. They had no intentions of abandoning strategy for chance. They came ready to apply their full attention, understanding and expertise of football to the field of play. They were even prepared for surprises and willing to make adjustments along the way. They played the game with integrity—and they won.

I am a Jets fan. But the loss doesn’t bother me because both teams gave the game the honor it deserves, and so I know the better side came out on top. Unfortunately, acceptance doesn’t come so easy when I contemplate the future of health care reform verse the outcome of this week’s special election in Massachusetts.

I meet exceedingly few people who have had to deal with major medical issues and who have not had to battle, or succumb to administrative and insurance inequities along the way. Treatments that physicians recommend are often considered unreasonable, uncovered or sometimes even experimental by insurers. For treatments that are covered, hopefully the facility, the doctor, physical therapists, and specialists are all in the network. Otherwise, decisions will vacillate between surrendering huge sums of money, and putting your care in the hands of someone you may not fully trust. And for too many people, foregoing coverage entirely means acquiescing to having an emergency only plan in place.

Certainly much angst has set it among supporters of health care reform in that Scott Brown’s election to the U.S. Senate shifts the tide. The Democratic majority will no longer be filibuster proof. The loss of this one seat combined with the existing level of partisan bickering may shelve any chance of true reform once again.

In the manner of a Jets fan accepting defeat in the AFC Championship, I could accept defeat of health care reform as well. But, the Democratic Party leadership took their eye off the ball, and that makes acceptance easier said than done.

For some bizarre reason they thought they had this race won weeks ago. In the final analysis, it may be that many voters in the Bay State were simply voting for Scott Brown, and not against health reform. But, the early analysis, suggests that Martha Coakley’s camp and the Democratic Party were taken by surprise and competed with about as much integrity in Tuesday’s election as the Colts offered up in week 15 of the regular season. This time though there will be no re-match. I suppose acknowledgement of the ebb and flow is required. I just wish the Democrat's hadn’t acted like aliens from another planet. For if they had been paying attention they would have known about riptides. And maybe they would have given the Republican’s, the Independent’s and the ‘People’ the feeling of integrity that the race for this seat deserved.

(c) 2010 Christopher's Views


  1. Being a Jets fan, a recent resident to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and one who considers American Politics to be the greatest sport since the gladiators worked the Coliseum, I found Tuesday's election to be the antithesis of competitive loss or alien invasion. It was shameful surrender. For weeks it was as if I watched the Democrats say , "We will just lay down. You can run the ball down field if you want but we don't think you will. After all, this is our stadium." Of course the consequences are on a grander scale and the sci fi storyline is more fitting. "You can bring your spaceship here anytime but we don't have anything to worry about. This is our planet."
    I am still not sure if the Democrats lost in Massachusetts on health care for the nation. Health care reform already happened in Massachusaetts.
    I think that they may have lost because they got a lot of their supporters very angry. The Democrats here thought they could win based upon some elitist sense of arrogant entitlement. They considered their supporters to be mindless Pod People who would never consider casting a vote for anyone who was not blue. I think that much of the electorate saw this and found it blatantly insulting.
    The Democrats really jumped the shark when Brown corrected Coakley in one debate that they were not running for Ted Kennedy's seat but for the people of Massachusetts seat. The roar of approval was intense and Coakley did not bat an eye.
    Brown and his supporters really worked for this seat. They were out on the streets for months doin' the time honored stuff of shakin' hands and kissin' babies. I ran into Brown myself walking into our local supermarket, Market Basket, in Westford MA. Coakley was nowhere to be seen except on TV shaking hands with and kissing up to lobbyists in DC.
    As always I very much enjoy your thinking and especially your writing. I hope your metaphor of tides coming in and out is on the money because up here it feels like a sunami hit the Commonwealth.

  2. i almost stopped reading when you came to the bit about football (i've been gone too long from the US to retain any feelings at all for football), but i'm glad i stayed to read. very thought-provoking post and a good analogy in the end.

  3. I wouldn't want to be an alien landing on earth these days!!!

    Just found your blog through Moments of Perfect Clarity. I'm your newest follower :)

    Holli in Ghana

  4. Christopher, nicely done - the connection between the tides, the Jets and health care reform. I like your analyses.