When You Make a Bad Promise

The failure of the GOP’s latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA)  proves something that all of us, especially politicians, should pay attention to.

Sometimes we make bad promises that we cannot keep.

The battle cry of the Republicans has been that they promised “repeal and replace of Obamacare” to our constituents. They have been insisting that the repeal of the ACA and their replacement bill would insure quality health care for “the American people.

But their efforts failed because they were not concerned about “the American people,” a group of citizens who demonstrated and protested every single one of their repeal and replace efforts. “The American people” to whom the GOP were pandering turned out to be a small lump in a big bowl, completely overrun and outnumbered by millions of people who were finally getting the health care they have needed for so long.

It was and is troubling that so many Republicans seemed not to care about the hue and cry coming from the masses. It was and is troubling that the GOP seemed more concerned with this ill-fated promise which was determined to put politics over the people. It was and is troubling that too many Republicans seemed unconcerned with people who would have been thrown to the wind with their health issues and needs, had any of their replacement bills passed, including the Graham-Cassidy bill.

It takes character for any of us to admit when we have made a bad promise. How many times have we as individuals gone through that experience? Politicians are known to make promises and many of them they know when the make them that they cannot keep them.

But the goal of most politicians is to get elected by any means necessary. Although they lift up the phrase “the American people,” few of them mean to include all Americans. They are going after a particular group and they play to them and their needs. That seems to a fact of politics, here and elsewhere in the world.

So, we are used to hearing promises made and seeing that they cannot or will not be kept, but this promise was particularly troubling and onerous because it seemed to be steeped in hatred, racism and a determination to kill anything former President Barack Obama tried to pass. Healthcare reform had been an issue at least since the time of President Truman. That a black man would do what no white man/administration had been able to do was just not palatable. (https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/news-analysis/a-brief-history-on-the-road-to-healthcare-reform-from-truman-to-obama.html)

Remember that the stated and publicized goal of the GOP was to make Obama a “one term president.”

The fight to kill the ACA is not over; it is as much a thorn in the sides of some as is Roe v. Wade. The backlash against the Obama administration is breathtaking in its fury and is not likely to end any time soon.

That being said, however, what this most recent defeat of the effort to kill the ACA indicates that the GOP,  so angry that they impulsively and publicly declared that they would “repeal and replace” Obamacare, seems to have been a promise misplaced, a bad promise which never should have been made.

A candid observation …

Wanting America Back

I was in a high-end restaurant, waiting to have a meeting with a friend, and arrived before he did. I was led to our table, which had already been reserved.

Our table was next to one at which four white women were already sitting. They were older, looking to be in their late 70s and/or early 80s. It felt like they were engaging in a “girl’s day out” kind of time. They were laughing and sharing, talking about their husbands, their children and grandchildren, their charity work, and their professions, from which they had all retired.

I couldn’t help but hear everything they were talking about, and found myself chuckling from time to time at some of the things they shared. Privacy was not an option or a concern for them.

So, when they started talking about politics and the current slate of GOP candidates, the fact that they were sharing their views for all to hear was not surprising. They were Republicans, committed Republicans, that was for certain, because they said so, out loud.
The GOP candidates were interesting, they said. Carly “what’s her name? Is she still in the race?” Fiorina didn’t impress any of them, nor did Jeb Bush. They never mentioned Ben Carson, and kind of skated through their opinions of the candidates who have now left the race, including Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Rand Paul.

But then they got to the meat of their discussion: the top three candidates, according to the polls, plus Chris Christie. Trump, they said, was OK. Rubio was not; he was in favor of “bringing all those immigrants, or letting all those immigrants” come into or stay in this country. “Oh no, no immigrants,” said three of the women in response to the now-emerged spokeswoman for the group. One woman weakly tried to say that the immigrants who have been working here should be allowed to become citizens, but she was shut down.

Chris Christie should not be president, said the “louder-than-the-rest” woman because “he hugged Obama. That did it for me. He hugged Obama after Hurricane Sandy.” She said it in such a way which indicated she wanted everyone to know that yes, she said it, and yes, she absolutely meant it.

Obama, she said, was evil. Someone mentioned that Obama had visited a mosque, and had reported that Muslims were “good people.”

“Of course,” the ringleader said, “he would say that because he is a Muslim. Everyone knows that. He doesn’t go to church. He…is…a…Muslim.”

There was a pregnant pause while everyone pondered her pronouncement of “truth.,” but then the women got back to the other GOP candidates. With Trump being a little too over the top, and Rubio being in favor of keeping immigrants here and letting more come in, the only viable candidate, said the ringleader, with the other three women nodding their heads in agreement, was Ted Cruz.

“He is honest and loving and believes in the Constitution,” said Ringleader. “He is our only hope.” And then she said, quietly, “We have lost our beloved America. Our children’s children will never know the America we knew.”

Ah, the “give us our country back” sentiment took center stage. If Cruz could help bring sexism and racism back, and put all of the “isms” back in their places on the shelves of  American values, then he would have to be elected president. If Cruz could get rid of Obamacare with no thought of how millions who now have health care would feel or survive, then he would have to be elected president. If Cruz could make it so that police could have free reign with arresting and brutalizing people, then he would have to be president. If Cruz could get the military up and running like a good American military should run, and “bomb the hell out of ISIS,” as Donald Trump has said, then Cruz would have to be elected president.

I sat there, not surprised at what I was hearing, but a tad irritated that they talked so loudly so that everyone would have to hear their political discourses. They were bemoaning the threat they and many white Americans feel from forces larger than them and their remembrance of an America where bigotry and privilege went unchallenged. They were bemoaning the fact that being “politically correct” means respecting people of different religions (Islam) and colors and nationalities. They were tired of it. They wanted the voices of white people to be heard again, loudly and clearly, putting everyone and everything that wasn’t white in their proper places.

To heck with this being the “land of the free and the home of the brave.” They were not interested in living into that pronouncement and they sure were not interested in nurturing the American value called pluralism.

I heard that in their discourse. I don’t think I was wrong. I wish I were…

A candid observation…