Monday, March 29, 2010

Baker waves the white flag (but only for effect, sadly)

I couldn't resist having a wee peek at Kevin Baker's blog to see how he's coming to terms with the horrific new reality of having to share his country with millions upon millions of poor people who have access to affordable health care. Predictably, the answer is...not terribly well. After swimming through vast oceans of yelping prose exploring predictable themes such as America's new status as a fascist or socialist state (take your pick), Barack Obama's anti-semitism (no photo for poor old Bibi is seemingly tantamount to outright Nazism), and assorted logical gymnastics to try to convince us the US constitution has in some way been wickedly contravened, one fatalistic observation particularly leaped out at me -

"We can't stop what's happening. We are too few and too unpopular."

If only that were true. The conservative side of the US culture wars is so strong that in all likelihood any prospect of further progress towards social justice will be abruptly halted by Republican gains in the November Congressional elections. But the miracle is that healthcare reform 'sneaked under the wire' during the small window of opportunity afforded by the rare conjunction of a (reasonably) liberal Democratic president, a Democratic majority in the House, and a fillibuster-proof Democratic supermajority in the Senate that lasted only a few months. It may be decades before another such golden opportunity presents itself - but the good news is that each wave of reform tends not to be reversed, and is eventually built upon. So what will be the next battleground, in that far distant future? The abolition of the death penalty? Meaningful gun control legislation? Both may seem utterly unthinkable for now, but I suddenly have considerably more faith in America's snail's pace march towards a more civilised society than I did just a few short weeks ago.

No wonder Kevin's depressed.


  1. Ezio Auditore da Firenze - Florence Needs ChampionsMarch 29, 2010 at 4:03 AM

    I don't think my own role in getting the healthcare bill through Congress should be diminished, James!

  2. My apologies, Ezio, an unaccountable omission on my part.