Senator Hagan, I'm disappointed in your vote

I’m disappointed in our U.S. Senator from North Carolina — Kay Hagan.

Senator Kay Hagan
Senator Kay Hagan

She voted with Republicans to keep the DREAM Act from getting a vote in the Senate, which kills the bill for now.

Even though 55 Senators wanted a vote and would have passed it, a majority is not enough these days.  The filibuster is the norm rather than the exception.

Senator Orin Hatch
Senator Orin Hatch

Even Utah Senator Orin Hatch, who introduced the bill, voted against letting it come to the floor for a vote.

Of course, we all know that expecting integrity from a U.S. Senator, these days, is like looking for a healthy vegetable in a fast food burger.

I don’t have a lot of integrity on this issue myself.  I never emailed my Senator before the vote — and I had every opportunity to do so.  And here I am, blogging about it afterward, when it’s really too late.

It might be a few years until it gets another chance.  The argument against it is that it should be part of comprehensive immigration reform.

Between now and the day it passes, sometime in the future, many good students will be denied the scholarships and fellowships they need to become educated, productive members of society.  They will be denied the opportunity to serve in the military.  And they will be denied the chance to work toward citizenship.

They probably won’t start many businesses, hire people, and buy houses.  That’s the flip side.  The downside.

Since 9/11, the country has become suspicious of immigrants.

The global economy — with much of our manufacturing base gone to overseas lands — has also created resentment of those not born in the U.S.A.

This suspicion and resentment has not done our economy any favors.

Who are the hardest workers?  Immigrants.

Who most wants to live the American Dream, start a business, hire people? An immigrant.

What causes the housing market to grow?  Population growth.

What does our country need now?  New business, hiring, a rebound in the housing sector.

This is not a well-informed blog.  I never took a course in economics — and I don’t pretend to know the facts and figures to back up my argument.

But I’m pretty sure that immigration is part of the solution to our countries economic problems, not the cause.

Senator Hagan, I think I understand you’re vote.  You’re afraid that the anti-immigrant sentiment will hurt you in the next election.  I can’t think of any other reason why you would block the DREAM Act.

And, Senator, I’m disappointed in you.


robberySuppose there was chaos in the streets.  Burglary, robbery, murder.

People would want the government to step in.

Suppose one party said “we need to police this situation and get crime under control.”

And they spend a year developing a plan.

Meanwhile, the crime wave continues to grow.

The other party (who’s getting a huge kickback from the robbers) says, “We don’t want government intervention.  Let’s start over with the plan, and go slowly, step by step.”

The health insurance companies are the criminals, robbing Americans blind.

Welcome to health care reform in America.

Health insurance is about individual's freedom

My daughter left this morning.  She’s in flight now, to her home in Fairbanks, Alaska.

We are a close family.

Sarah and Emma
Sarah and Emma

I thought my mother kept close tabs on me when I was her age (or slightly younger) and lived a distance away.  She sometimes called me more than once a week.

Thanks to our cell phone family talk plan, unlimited text plan, Facebook, and email, our family (as do many families) stays in touch on a daily basis.

Two parents.  Three children.  We see pictures and videos and status updates and listen to voice messages and talk in the car.

Nevertheless, Sarah has been awfully generous about using her savings to make trips home — and we’ve learned to really appreciate the time we have with her when she visits.

Each time she leaves, it’s sad, and usually quite dramatic.

In Fairbanks, it stays below zero all winter.  Here in North Carolina, in early December, it’s a little cool — but still a perfectly pleasant day for golf or tennis.

It’s also a long, expensive flight.

So of course, when she visits, the subject of her moving closer to home comes up.

She’s been there three years and has her reasons for staying there.  There are relationships, people, community, meaningful work — all the things that add up to “a life.”

But there are other reasons that one could call economic, even political.

The unemployment rate here is high. In Fairbanks, there are jobs — and she has one, with a non-profit that helps protect women who are victims of domestic violence.  The work is meaningful and challenging.

And it provides health insurance.

This Sunday afternoon, as C-Span airs the U.S. Senate debate on health care reform, my daughter’s ability to move closer to her family in North Carolina — were she to choose to do so — hangs in the balance.

She has a need for health care — as we all do — and she sometimes uses her benefits.

It’s doubtful she could get a job here that provides health insurance.  And it’s doubtful she could make enough money to pay for her own.

Nobody realistically expects true, socialized medicine any time soon, but the public option — obviously needed and such a hot topic — would be a good start.

Then, people could move where they want, do what they want, and buy health insurance they could afford.

People could try a different kind of work if they wanted — or start a business.

Presumably, the health insurance would be actual insurance, rather than what many people have now — partial insurance, overpriced, that can be cancelled at any time for those who use it.

The arguments against socialized medicine, and the public option, are “free marketplace” arguments.

Yet, this free marketplace limits the freedom Americans have to choose work and make changes in their lives.

The free marketplace is excellent when we’re talking about products and services that are optional — that people are free to buy or not buy, shop or not shop.

But health care doesn’t fall into that category.  We’re not free to choose whether or not we need it.  We all need it.

Wouldn’t health care for all — paid for by all — provide more flexibility (a.k.a. freedom) to us all?

Anyway, I hope Sarah is having a good flight.

Health Care Reform: Who's got your back?

graphClick this simple graph.

Who wants change?  A change that gets a health care system in which everybody is cared for, and everybody pays?


Most of Congress

Most Americans

Who wants to keep the system we’ve got, the only modern nation in the world in which everybody is not covered?

Health Insurance Companies who are spending millions of dollars a day to convince Americans not to “rush into anything,” even though this legislation has been in the works for 60 years.

Rush Limbaugh

Glenn Beck

Congress Members who get big money from health insurance companies to misrepresent the facts.

Who cares about working Americans?

Birthers and Deathers

The Birthers Theory

On August 4th of sixty-one
the mama
of Barack Obama
thought she’d have a little fun.

She knew that maybe
her new baby
might run for President.
So he needed to be
a legal resident.

An epiphany she had that night!
The light!  The foresight!

Secure a future Presidential Race
by forging his birthplace!

The Deathers Theory

And now
in this gathering storm
for health care reform

some people say:

“Insurance today
is fine!  Fair play!

What’s worked before,
may work again.
We’ll make stuff up
and win!

Tell a little lie:
Psssst: some people
want others to die.

In order to kill the bill
just say ‘the bill will kill.'”

Who else wants to scream
When they hear this nonsense, so extreme?