There is a line from the Walt Kelly’s old comic strip “Pogo” – “We have met the enemy and he is us.” And with all of the bile and rage that is launched against the Obama administration from the Teapublican rhetorical artillery installations, it sometimes seems that the progressive left is even more intent on defining the presidency of Barack Obama as a failure. The current status of Obamacare is a case in point.
Even though the Affordable Care Act has been the law of the land since March of 2010 and even though literally millions of Americans are benefiting from the features of this historic program, the right wing of the right wing continues to bray that Obamacare is “a disaster” or “a failure” or “the worst thing since slavery”. But by now we have come to expect that the rhetoric of the right wing would have a common link to something that you might scrape off the bottom of your shoe with a stick…….a very long stick.
But, despite the very clear facts relating to the successes of Obamacare to date, the recent technical flaws in the enrollment process have sent the commentators from the left streaming to the cliff of despair like lemmings. Not only has the executive capacity of President Obama been questioned, he is now accused of setting back the liberal movement for a) centuries or b) forever, because the American people have now learned that government cannot operate large programs for the benefit of the American people.
A few things need to be said about all of this gnashing of teeth. While the American people can be easily misled and many times have an attention span that is often exceeded by that of a goldfish, most Americans do understand that Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, food stamps and college loan programs are run by the federal government.
Most Americans are reasonably satisfied with these programs and it is that satisfaction that provides a roadblock to the nihilist cohort of the right wing that would decimate and eviscerate most of these programs and many more. And while many Americans are deluded into drinking the Teapublican Kool-Aid they usually wake up when they realize that the big government that they hate so much is responsible for the programs that mean so much to them.
But all of this weeping and wailing on the left about setting back liberalism and permanently obliterating Americans’ faith in government seems to be intergalactic in origin because it cannot possibly come from an earth-based life form. While conceding the bamboozability of the American people, the American people are also used to organizations experiencing mishaps and even failures and recovering from them – consider trains, planes and automobiles.
Trains – during the Thanksgiving weekend a commuter train crashed in New York City and four people died and scores were injured. This is not the first train crash on the New York City public transport system and there have been, unfortunately, more crashes across this country during the past decade. No one has suggested that travel by train is unsafe or should be abandoned. Problems are meant to be solved.
Planes – Boeing has spent over a decade designing and building the 787 Dreamliner. After multiple mishaps and failures the planes were deemed worthy to be sold and flown all over the world – that is, until they were deemed unworthy and grounded all over the world. And now the planes have been fixed (presumably) and thousands of people are flying Dreamliners every day. No one has suggested that Boeing is an incompetent business. Problems are meant to be solved.
Automobiles – During the past few years we have seen millions of trucks and cars recalled by their manufacturers for all kinds of structural problems, some of which have caused the deaths of drivers and passengers. No one has suggested that Toyota, Ford or General Motors should go out of business or that they are incompetent organizations. Problems are meant to be solved.
But the naysayers who are against a national healthcare system, even if it worked perfectly from inception, would have us believe that the faults and flaws of Obamacare are reason to abandon a program that will allow uninsured people to be insured and will keep Americans from going bankrupt if they are seriously ill. They would have this country abandon a program that has already reduced the rate by which medical costs have been increasing.
But for the left wing to abandon ship because perfection has yet to be achieved means that they miss the point – national health care, a goal of American progressives for over a century, is the law of the land. By any measurement this is a tremendous achievement for President Obama.
One would think that now is the time to move forward with fixing what needs to be fixed rather than succumbing to the gloom and doom that is the eternal clarion call of the right wing.