8/31 Musings

He’s a walking contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction, taking every wrong direction on that lonely road back home-  Kris Kristofferson

We went to see David Alan Coe on Saturday night.  Had a great time.  He’s a true American original and an incredible song writer.  If you get the chance I’d strongly suggest seeing him while he’s still around.  At 70 his health is iffy and his show was clearly scaled down from last year.

I find myself heavily drawn to people like DAC.  Strong, ornery, unwilling to compromise, uniquely American.  Hard living, hard drinking, occasionally violent and lots of fun.  I value all those traits and seek to nurture them in myself.  That part of me tends toward libertarianism, likes Ron Paul, and distrusts both the government and large corporations.  It is pure and clean and right.  The people I’ve met who live this way tend to be honest, caring, and good.  On the other hand…

I also understand the limitations of that viewpoint.  It sometimes lacks perspective, compassion and empathy.  It’s very provincial and doesn’t have the tools to deal with complicated national and international issues.  It leaves too much room for hatred and racism and homophobia.  I want to care for the sick, help the under served, and lift up the weak.  I know, deep in my soul, that these are good and strong impulses.  But I’ve found many of the people who live this way to be smug, self-righteous, and greedy.

Can one do both?  Can I?  I’m certainly giving it a try.  But what does it mean for my politics?  My relationships?  My own mental health?  Things to muse upon.


Healthcare Part 1

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” – Anne Lamott

Okay, so let’s talk about health care.  I know, you’re probably sick of the subject already.  And you already have an opinion anyway.  But bear with me.  There are lynchpin moments in history.  Times when doing the right thing moves society to a better, more successful place (the Marshall Plan).  And doing the wrong thing damns you to a generation of stupidity (electing Ronald Reagan).  The health care issue is one of those times, and we’re about to get it wrong.

I am, at heart, a libertarian.  In general I almost always support fewer laws and less government.  Almost.  There are clearly some places where the government  is the most rational and efficient way to achieve a societal goal.  The military, building roads, regulating trade, making sure consumers are well informed, and pooling our resources to protect and care for the needy are areas where government just makes sense.  And health care has become one of those areas.

Have you ever been to the old section of Philadelphia?  On every house there’s a small emblem high over the front door.  These signs were issued to a homeowner when they bought a fire insurance policy.  In those days there was no municipal fire department so when your house caught on fire the local insurance companies employed a fire wagon and firefighters.  But if the firefighters got to your house and it had no emblem, or the emblem of a competing company, they would just let it burn.  Too bad for you.

Seems fair, right?  You weren’t their customer.  Well sure, but fire doesn’t play by mere human rules.  Fire grows.  Sometimes really big.  And a whole lot of stuff burned down because the first three teams to arrive did nothing while the fire was still small.  So it turned out this wasn’t an efficient way to deal with firefighting at all.  It turned out that everybody pitching in for a group of professionals to put out all the fires made a lot more sense.  Well duh.  But apparently we haven’t learned that lesson very well.

The first argument for universal health care follows this fire analogy.  If the fire in the poor part of town gets out of control your house might burn down too.  We ALL benefit from a healthy population.  Catching viruses and diseases earlier gives us all a better chance of survival.  Class selfishness is stupid and self destructive when it comes to things that don’t care who you are.

To Be Continued…


8/28 Play a Little Tune

This summer has been a musical one for me.  I started to learn to play a musical instrument for the first time.  More on that later.  I’ve also been to a bunch of concerts.  Styx, REO Speedwagon, .38 Special, Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney, ZZ Top, Trace Atkins, Toby Keith, etc.  On Saturday I’m seeing David Alan Coe, a personal favorite.  (Let me know if you want to go!)  Next week is Poison and Def Leppard.  I’ve noticed a huge generation gap between young and old people’s concert going behavior.  Here they are:

Old- like to discuss who they’ve seen with other concert goers, young- like to text who they’re seeing now to friends.

Old- very intent on the music, young- very intent on the ‘event’.

Old- like to sing along, young- like to take pictures.

Old- smoke a little pot to heighten the experience, young- drink ’til you throw up and maybe miss the headliner.

Old- cheer wildly between songs and shout out suggested tunes, young- shriek wildly during the songs they like.

Old- do a little snuggling during the slow romantic songs, young- call a friend and have a loud conversation during a slow romantic song.

Old- Sometimes get lost in the music and stare up at the night sky, young- frequently get lost in the video camera.

Sometimes I’m very glad to be old.


Vile Vile Vile

For some people the hate just never stops.  Some gay people would like their civil rights leader acknowledged and celebrated.  Sounds simple and reasonable, right?  Well, not to the hate filled bags of human garbage who claim to be Christian.  Really, these kind of loathsome judgments of other human beings is what Christ wanted?  When I read the bible he talked a lot about love and kindness.  Some people should have their head slammed in a car door.  Repeatedly.  Until they start making sense.  Check out the link and see what I mean.

http://sfist.com/2009/08/27/its_on_harvey_milk_day_bill_under_a.php