The first decade of the 21st century is coming to a close. As individuals we have been witness to births and deaths of loved ones and a mixed brew of success and disappointment.
Broadening the horizon we have seen historic changes and cataclysmic disasters that could not be contemplated on December 31, 1999– 9/11 became a noun and someone named Barack Hussein Obama is the President of the United States. And Sarah Palin was just as unknown as Barack Obama.
Popes and pop stars have left the stage and it seems as if the tragedies suffered by the people of the Congo and Haiti and Somalia and so many other places will never end.
We begin the New Year with expectation and hope and the realization that as with every day tomorrow belongs to us if we just seize the moment.
A Wake Up Call
During the contentious debates over the health care bill, a blatant lie circulated to the effect that it mandated that there would be “death panels” that would decide who would live and who would die in the Brave New World of Obamacare.
The facts rarely get in the way of a good story these days, but the fact is that the legislative proposal called for end of life counseling, a service that is certainly needed by patients and their families.
While this provision was removed from the bill that ultimately passed, Medicare has recently issued some new guidelines that would permit end of life counseling to be a service that would be funded by the federal government. Anyone who has ever had to address the needs and concerns of a family member at the end of their life knows how beneficial it would be to have some counseling in making the right decisions.
Every person should have every service that will help them to live and prosper. Perpetuating a vegetative state indefinitely is rarely what any person (or their family member) would want. But without counseling very few Americans know what to do and make decisions that are tinged with needless indecision, perpetual doubt and eternal guilt.
If just a single family is spared this unnecessary agony end of life counseling would be a good thing. The fact is that millions of Americans are in need of this service every year.
Be prepared for the right wing of the right wing to mount a mindless assault on this sensible and compassionate initiative. Perhaps 2011 will be different from 2010 in that progressives and men and women of good will find their muted voices and speak up and against the right wing of the right wing.
Rent A Slave Redux
This past week I finished reading Manhunt, by James L. Swanson (Harper Perennial). It is the story of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth and the ensuing 12-day manhunt to capture and kill him.
The book is painstaking in providing details regarding the mood of the United States in 1865. As the Civil War came to an end the book makes clear that the issue of slavery was the fuse that gave rise to the conflagration known as the Civil War.
As close to a half a million Americans died in combat, President Lincoln was clear in never recognizing the “insurgency” known as the Confederacy, refusing to remove any of the stars from the American flag that represented the 11 secessionist states.
The Confederacy was always considered a treasonous rebellion and it was never accorded any recognition of its claimed sovereignty. Booth and his cohorts were clearly motivated to commit murder in order to perpetuate their vision of white supremacy and eternal black slavery.
That the Confederacy and all that it stood for would be celebrated for 4 ½ years here in the 21st century is an obscenity. The revelers and faux historians can spout words like “heritage” all they want, but slavery and white supremacy were the foundations of the Confederacy. The spirit of John Wilkes Booth inspired the Ku Klux Klan in the 19th century and the White Citizens Councils in the 20th century.
And now it appears that Booth lives in the 21st century celebrations of a treasonous revolt that needs to be buried next to Booth.
New Year’s Eve
Point of View went online in late June of 2010. Since then there have been over 8200 visits to this site and the number grows by the day. I am most grateful for your interest, comments and support.
As we go into the New Year and the new decade we will continue to present points of view that I hope will contribute a positive tone to the discussions of the issues of the day. Stay strong!