Saturday, December 25, 2010

'Tis the Season for Compromise, And to Stand Up for Moral Choices

'Tis the season for compromise. Or political oneupmanship. Or staging. No matter what you think, and what your beliefs, it's hard to deny the past year distinguishes itself as one of the most egregious examples of party politics and special interest pandering in recent memory.

I'm really happy Don't Ask Don't Tell has been repealed, but did we need a big ceremony to flaunt it? You'd think the Democrats learned some lessons after the circus performance when the Affordable Care Act (one of the biggest betrayals the President Obama has executed and thus imposed on his former loyal supporters and the American people) was signed. You remember, the Vice President's Big F-ing Deal.

Does the sludge trickle down from the President, who, along with the cabinet and advisers all share the same lack of focus and leadership and accountability? Or does the stench waft up from below, from a pit of legislators who have just spent too much time filling seats with lead bottoms and campaigning for their own re-elections?

All our elected officials allowed a deeply flawed health care reform bill to pass. No one without insurance due to job loss or other financial difficulties will see any relief until 2014 while health care insurers rig up new exchanges that meet their needs, not those of patients.

Second, instead of calling out Republican special interests in repealing tax cuts for the rich, those concessions were made to allow extension of unemployment benefits. How are those two issues linked, except in the world of politics?

At the eleventh hour, my two New York State Senators, Schumer and Gillebrand, who caved on the Affordable Care Act, stood up for the rights of first responders in desperate need of assistance due to life threatening illnesses they are suffering after doing their public and civic duty in the aftermath of 9/11. How can anyone who lived through that day, and the succeeding events deny the unprecedented sacrifice those men and women made, and deny them the needed medical care they deserve? Republicans, it seems, are not human. Or reneged on the vow to "Never Forget."

How does this game playing affect real people?

A 35 year old single mother and police officer confided with me December of 2001 how the horror of 9/11 had seriously affected her, physically and emotionally. "It's far from over," she whispered, sadness and fear in her eyes as well as her voice. In February of 2002, she was dead of a lung ailment no one yet understood, her ten year old son an orphan, in the care of an aunt, devastated.

Another police officer friend is battling lung disease, trying valiantly to stay on the job to support his wife and three kids. He's losing.

Women have already had their constitutional rights trampled by the express prohibition of abortion services in any exchange plan, a precedent likely to be adopted by all insurers.

Now, women are at risk of having their access to birth control severely limited clearly a measure that prevents the expense and possible adverse health effects of undesired pregnancy, taken away. A bunch of celibate old men on the Conference of Catholic Bishops has expressed their opinion, yet have not weighed in on treatment for erectile dysfunction. This is blatant sexism, blatant disregard for our Constitutional Rights, and Separation of Church and State.

To see how absolutely devoid of reason the Bishops are, consider that one believes a hospital's decision to allow an abortion of an 11 week pregnancy in a dying woman was grounds for removal of the Blessed Sacrament from the hospital's chapel. It seems that if the mother had been allowed to die along with her 11 week fetus, they would still be able to celebrate Mass and receive Communion on hospital grounds. Hmmm. What would Jesus do? What would He say about that?

Congratulations o the doctors, nurses and administrators who did the right thing in that horrible situation--one which I have found myself involved in many times. In my opinion, there is no moral grounds for allowing someone to die for the sake of a religious belief, turning a tragedy into a travesty.

Kudos to all of us who went to the polls on Election Day and jettisoned the worst of offenders in Washington, as well as those in City and State government. But there are still more that need to be called out, and thrown out. Here in New York City we saw how close Mike Bloomberg came to being booted, after he flaunted term limits and declared himself too important to be allowed to step down as required by law. Bill Thompson might have won, if more disgusted voters had cast their vote.

We need to stay vigilant and in control. Credo has organized a campaign against more indignities being perpetrated against women, and it can't be any easier than one click to send a message, and one click to post the message to Twitter and Facebook about keeping birth control available to all women under the Affordable Care Act.

I suggest subscription to their newsletters with timely legislative action updates.

All the greetings of the season , no matter what you celebrate!