A teachable moment – the health care and governance crisis

by Phyllis Stenerson ProgressiveValues.org e-letter May 4, 2017 (HTLM version) 
Patriotism is not obedience to government.
Patriotism is obedience to the principles
for which government is supposed to stand.
Howard Zinn

The health care bill passed today in the United States House of
Representatives highlights basic dynamics of the dysfunctional of
today's system of politics and governance - our awesome, fragile democracy.
Legislation matters. Provisions of this legislation will directly
impact anyone who needs medical services, i.e. everyone. Analysts say
the rich will benefit and the poor will suffer. In many cases it can
mean life or death. Elections make a difference. This proposed
legislation and the surrounding debate are direct outcomes of the
2016 elections for President and Congress of the United States.
Encompassed within these two major elements are volumes of facts and
opinions raising countless questions that must be part of an intense,
informed dialogue among citizens and policy leaders.        

Since the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy, particularly the disastrous choice to
wage preemptive war with Iraq. I've intensely studied how our country
could become such a mess.

 Links that pop up in my Facebook and e-mail each day answer some
questions, but raise many more. I'm working to draft a comprehensive
framework for the purpose of citizen education, dialogue and action that
will lead to major change, but must admit
the task is borderline overwhelming. Like most large projects, the
most feasible approach is taking small steps - in this case a series
of e-letters and a website -   - and let go of the original plan for
a book.

I'm convinced that we (citizens) must get to the core issues of this
crisis of governance and harbor no illusions that it will be anything
but difficult and lengthy. It's now irrefutable that our country is
deeply divided politically. Division show up in all facets of society
and is rooted deep in our psyches and society. We can't even agree on
facts. It's even more difficult when moral compasses lead us into a
collision of values.

We are at a trajectory moment in our democracy, indeed in civilization,
where the future for our grandchildren is up for grabs. Those of us who
believe in citizen-led democracy as the essential factor in determining
future events must fight fiercely, with love, intelligence and
commitment. The forces fighting to undermine democracy to make way for
 power by those with wealth and fundamentalist ideologies are relentless.

This is our moral responsibility   to our larger community, especially
those on the margins with limited power, and our grandchildren.

I'm thinking that posting this essay is like popping the cork on a
bottle of champagne. I've struggled to find the right, best way to do
this work and have come to believe that I can't wait for perfection
but just do the best I can with what I have - what Dr. Martin Luther
King, Jr. called "the fierce urgency of now."

Wise words from diverse voices are posted on my website,
www.ProgressiveValues.org -  , with the
intent of forming a cohesive, persuasive narrative to help save

With humility and audacious faith, Phyllis Stenerson
"We must move forward in the days ahead with audacious faith.
The moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Some posts from this morning's social media seemed particularly

Excerpt of a post from  -  U.S. Senator Al Franken -- US Senator for
Minnesota: "Republicans in the House have taken their terrible,
unpopular health care bill thatfailed just over a month ago and made
it even worse. And there's a reason they won't allow their bill to
see the  light of day before they vote on it. The House GOP knows
that once the American people find out what's in this bill--
and what it would mean for their families--it wouldn't survive...
Republicans in the House know that the changes they are making
will have devastating effects on people's lives, and that's why,
in an extraordinary display of contempt for the people they serve,
they've exempted themselves from changes in the health law. You read
that right. Republican members of Congress want to keep their Obamacare
protections, but they just don't want their constituents to have them.

Republicans are rushing to pass this bill without any public debate
and without knowing how much it will cost or how many people will
lose coverage. That's immoral and they know it. People in Minnesota
and across the country have made it clear that they don't want this
unacceptable health care plan, and I'll be joining others in voicing
our opposition at a rally at the Capitol today because we need to do
everything we can to stop this bill. See More 

"It's horrible legislation being rushed to a vote under cover of
secrecy. " The GOP Health-Care Bill Is an Abdication of a Responsibility and a Moral Disgrace By Jonathan Chait - the - http://nymag.com/tags/the-national-interest/
national interest - http://nymag.com/tags/the-national-interest/ /
nymag.com, May 3, 2017
"The heart of the bill is the same one that was polling at under  20
percent and failed two months ago: a near-trillion dollar tax  cut
for wealthy investors, financed by cuts to insurance   subsidies for
the poor and middle class." The Christian Left  

There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but
there must never be a time when we fail to protest.
Elie Wiesel

Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are
prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy,
therefore, is education.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Either the United States will destroy ignorance, or ignorance will
destroy the United States.
W.E.B. DuBois

The moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination,
against oppression. The moment we choose to love we begin to move
towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others.
Bell Hooks

Our dignity and honor as a nation never came from our perfection as a
society or as a people: it came from the belief that in the end, this
was a country which would pursue justice as the compass pursues the
pole: that although we might deviate, we would return and find our
path. This is what we must now do.
John Adams,
contributor to and signer of the Declaration of Independence and the
United States Constitution, Second United States President - 4/4/1797
to 4/4/1801

Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get
better, it's not.
Dr. Suess, The Lorax

With lives on the line, House Republicans are embracing collective,
willful ignorance. The result is a national embarrassment...No matter
what one might think of the competing approaches to health care
policy, fair-minded observers should consider this a proper scandal.
Americans aren't supposed to govern this way. We're better than this.
We have to be.
-  Steve Benen, MSNBC

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- phyllis@progressivevales.org phyllis@progressivevalues.org. Thank

Phyllis Stenerson, Paideia LLC
- phyllis@progressivevalues.org phyllis@progressivevalues.org -  - http://www.ProgressiveValues.org
Paideia (pu-di'uh) is an ancient Greek philosophy of educating for
citizenship to create an ideal society

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