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Thursday, February 4, 2010

REAL HEROES AND REAL ZEROES

I watched with great interest yesterday the lead-in for MSNBC's The Ed Show. Host Ed Schultz was broadcasting live from a hall in Connecticut that was holding a free health care clinic for the uninsured. He was visibly strongly touched and affected by what he saw there: unemployed and working Americans from all walks of life who, due to circumstances or pre-existing conditions, had no health insurance. He related the story of one woman who had lost a high-paying administrative job two years ago but had no insurance and had been delaying seeing a doctor. She had developed a lump on her neck and had lost 40 pounds in the past month. Not good! Hopefully, this visit to MSNBC's free clinic will not have been too late for her, although her condition as described does sound worrisome...

This free health care clinic, one of 3 or 4 organized by MSNBC and paid for by viewer donations to that network prompted by network commentators Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow and held in different states, has proven to be a boon for many. I consider this to be activist journalism at its finest. For anybody can see a terrible situation and merely report on it, but for someone to initiate action to publicize the situation and to bring aid to those in true need really goes the extra mile in my book. Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, and all who contributed either funds or time to aid this effort are all heroes.

Mr. Schultz interviewed a number of health care professionals who had volunteered their time to treat the needy for this one day event. One indicated that she had attended all of these MSNBC free clinics, but had not seen one member of Congress at any of them. NOT ONE. No Joe LIEberman, the guy who campaigned in 2006 on expanding Medicare to include those from ages 50-64, but then reversed his stance once it looked like that could become a reality, and the same guy who has accepted millions in campaign contributions over the years from the health insurance industry; no Chris Dodd either, nor any of Connecticut's House members. At the free clinic held a few months back in Arkansas, there was no visit from either Blanche Lincoln or Mark Pryor, nor any of that state's House members. At the one held in Louisiana, Mary Landrieux didn't bother to drop in, nor did the philandering David Vitter (perhaps he was busy with other activities while the free clinic was going on). This aloof lack of support for the needs of their own constituents is inexcusable. The entire congressional delegations of these states, Democrat AND Republican, should be thoroughly ashamed. They are ALL zeroes! Interestingly enough, the only political figure to attend the Connecticut clinic was LIEberman's last opponent, progressive Ned Lamont. That makes him a hero.

The impassioned plea Ed Schultz gave for universal health care coverage, and the genuine anguish on his face as he relayed the stories of those attending the clinic was something to behold. The highlight came when he lashed out at Joe LIEberman and called him a "coward" for having abandoned his principles, campaign pledges, and responsibility in turning face to appease his corporate campaign donors from the health insurance industry.

There are a number of real heroes in this campaign to get universal health care delivered to our citizens. Among them are the MSNBC crew, and those Representatives and Senators who sponsored health care reform legislation or voted for it. The Ron Wydens, Barbara Boxers, Al Frankens, Bernie Sanderses, Anthony Wieners, Al Graysons, Dennis Kuciniches of our goverbnment.

There are also a large number of real zeroes on this issue: those who have opposed, stalled, lied about, or tried to kill health care reform altogether. These include the entire Republican congressional caucus. These are the types of time-and-money-wasting congresspersons I advocated invoicing in my last post. They also include Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ben Nelson, Joe LIEberman, Blanche Lincoln, Ann Coulter, and the rest of the Fox "News" crew.

The heroes, of course, have supported and acted in favor of getting needed health care to everybody, regardless of race, gender, age, health, employment, or income status. They have seen through the insanity and injustice of having huge insurance company middlemen stand between a patient and his or her doctor and hospital; paying for those services, but charging loan shark rates for doing so, and excluding millions of people to maximize profit.

Ed Schultz is a hero, too, and I salute him for his passion and advocacy.

14 comments:

Mycue23 said...

It's amazing how out of touch most of our "representatives" are. How hard can it be to actually show some concern for real people? Are politicians so removed from the people that they only view as numbers in a vote tally? What happened to government of, by and for the people? Are lobbyists and big corporations the only entities that our "respresentatives" care about? Are they the only ones who can get a response from these people who are supposed to representing our interests? I'm sure there are many in Congress who would be thrilled to go on a corporate junket to some warm climate to listen to the concerns of big business. Where is that response for the people they represent who are suffereing every day? It's shameful, Jack. Just shameful.

Holte Ender said...

The media plays a part in the misrepresentation of Health Care Reform in their refusal to call out the lying politicians. I exclude MSNBCs Shultz, Maddow and Olbermann from that remark, but the TV News channels are so far removed from everyday reality it beggars belief. If the media was populated with real journalists, the type that would be licking their lips at todays crop of politicians, we might see a little less terminological inexactitude.

TRUTH 101 said...

I'm lucky that Phil Hare is my Congressman. He's truly one of us. Unfortunately being "one of us" doesn't translate into much clout in Washington. "Us" don't have the contribution dollars to compete with "them."

SJ said...

@Jack
ditto on Holte's remarks.

An unopposed lie makes culprits of the liar as well as the journalist who sits and nods along with something s/he knows is not a fact.
-SJ

Jack Jodell said...

You are absolutely correct, Mycue23. It's really disgusting to think we fought a war of independence for the cause of no taxation without representation only to end up with...tacation without real representation!
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Holte Ender,
You are so right. Our media has been selling us short for far too long now. There is no investigative journalism anymore, and all they have become are cheap PR display cases for anybody who wants to present a viewpoint, regardless of how distorted or incorrect that point may be.
---------------
Truth101,
Count your blessings for having the rep you have. I, too, am lucky in that mine is Keith Ellison and my Senators are Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar.
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SJ,
I couldn/'t possibly agree more. That's why it's up to all of us to call the liars out!

Sick of you Yellow bellied PIGS said...

You wouldn't know a REAL hero if he bit you in your FAT ass, you ass-hole!

TomCat said...

Excellent post, Jack, and I filly concur. The biggest zero of all in this is Traitor Joe LIEberman.

Jack Jodell said...

Sick,
You certainly are. Your hateful and wholly unsupported statement here shows how ignorant you are, what a tarnished value system you have, and the fact that you haven't got a leg to stand on. Your unwarranted use of profanity is strong evidence of your severe emotional immaturity. In contrast to the other visitors here, you are a cold-hearted and very stupid fool. Is this the American way, to try to demean others you don't agree with through vicious and spiteful name-calling without even making a point. Absolutely not: it's a Nazi brown shirt bullying tactic, or an intolerant Taliban one, and is therefore wholly UN-American. You do not belong on this page, filled as it usually is with thoughtful, sensible, and knowledgeable people. People like you belong in the darkest caves of Afghanistan, wretched and miserable, hating and plotting against all the other civilized and enlightened peoples of the world.
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I'm in total agreement with you, TomCat!

Mycue23 said...

Jack,
Keep kicking ass, my friend.

MadMike said...

I must confess that sometimes Ed's passion can grate on me, but not when it comes to health care. When he talks about it it is clearly not just schtick This man is committed and unlike the Republicans and the Foxees you named Jack he realizes its importance. Great post as always.

Jack Jodell said...

Mycue23,
You can count on it, brother! You, too!
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MadMike,
You summed up my beliefs on this exactly, and thank you. Too bad many in our Congress just don't get it...

mud_rake said...

Don't forget our state hero, Sherrod Brown and may I add my House rep, Marcy Kaptur to the hero list.

The problem with the zeroes, as I always note, is both the propagandists and the dumbed-down and angry citizens.

Does the name Goebbels ring a bell?

Max's Dad said...

Hey Jack, I'm not sure my entire congressional delegation adds up to zero. Kudos to Ed, Keith and Rachel. And you.

Jack Jodell said...

mud_rake,
Those are indeed very big heroes you have! As for Goebbels, that name rings a very loud bell as to being the great-grandfather of the current conservative Republican constant-lie machine. They are doing the old propaganda minister very proud!
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Max's Dad,
THAT bad, huh? Poor guy. Kudos to you, too, my friend, for holding high the bright light of reason in your corner of that very dark state.