Show Your Papers

Daily Kos thinks that President Obama’s release of his long-form birth certificate is a smart move because Republicans who are not tanked up on tea see the birther issue as bad for the credibility of their party.

The President’s own statement is that our country is facing urgent problems, and this issue is enough of a distraction to need putting to rest.

Of course, it will not be put to rest because it was never about place of birth or the Constitution. It’s about a man with brown skin and a funny name, whose father was from Kenya and whose mother was unconventional. It’s about race-mixing and a fixed race that didn’t come through in 2008, when McCain was supposed to win. McCain was on deck, he had the right pedigree– that’s how it’s supposed to work.

When Barack Obama was elected, it was a message to the entire world. America, for all its flaws and failures, is a democracy. Any eligible citizen can run for office, even run for president. Despite our troubled racial history, we showed the world that Americans are equal in fact as well as in law.

And now we have the loudest voices in the Republican Party demanding that the President show his papers. The Republican politicians who should have stood up to this, who should have set an example of reason and civility, have been timid and afraid to offend their fringe. They deserve to have Donald Trump win the nomination, they paved the way for him. I’m disgusted with all the politicians who tip toe around ‘what people believe’ as if the truth doesn’t matter. It’s time for the adults in the Republican Party, if they can find the courage, to show leadership.

The whole world is watching, and today we are not looking so good.

UPDATE: A smart take on why there will never be enough ‘evidence’ to appease those who want to believe. You can’t cure stupid.

PERSONAL ANECDOTE: I used to have panic attacks and experience a convincing sense that something was really wrong. If I checked and confirmed that the iron really was turned off, then I’d worry about the gas stove blowing up. You can’t fix irrational anxiety with reason. Maybe I should have got some Xanax. Whatever.
Anyway, the instant shift in focus from one crazy conspiracy theory to the next just backs up the fact that this isn’t a rational issue, it’s a hysteria afflicting a group of believers who are convinced something is wrong and are looking for a narrative to make sense of a changing world. A lot of them are waiting for the Rapture too. People are entitled to their beliefs, but when beliefs replace facts in politics we are in trouble.

UPDATE II: Convincing evidence that Barack Obama is an alien from the planet Slzrd. Wait– that might be satire… good thing I deleted it. People might think I’m credulous.

Trickle-Up Medicaid

No time to write a detailed post with citations and links. I’m working today, facilitating gummint health care.

Most of the people I serve are elderly on Medicaid, though I’m lately seeing Medicare and VA clients as well.

Because the older generation, those in their 70’s and 80’s, have secure health care, people in my generation are not sitting around the kitchen table agonizing about Mom and Dad’s medical bills. That leaves us free to agonize about our kid’s college expenses and our own retirement.

Because Medicaid pays for home health aides, fewer people are going into nursing homes, and those who do are often there for rehab and get better and go back home.

Our Medicaid dollar is spent on local employment, providing jobs– in many cases to mothers of young children or caretakers of parents, who need flexible hours. And there’s the purchasing power to buy generic drugs at the best price– a lifesaver for people on a fixed income.

It’s a very imperfect system, and there’s always room for improvement, but the benefits trickle up from elderly parents to middle-class working children with children of their own to raise.


Plan for today– a little work, a little church and a lot of family time.

It’s wet outside, but looks likely to clear up and the trees are blooming, flowers are growing, Spring is finally making herself felt in soggy Southern New England.

Easter, Passover, Cambodian Year of the Rabbit– it’s party time.

Good Friday

Some time ago a traveling preacher walked from town to town speaking to anyone who would listen about God and scripture and sin and salvation. He was one of many street preachers, but his words found a place in the hearts of the poor and the outcast. Soon crowds gathered wherever he appeared.

He renounced violence, but he lived in violent times. Segregation and discrimination oppressed his people, and the greater society saw them as troublemakers, if not terrorists. He had more than a few close calls, including a near-lynching, before his arrest.

His trial was fixed. Church and State had decided he needed to be gotten out of the way. The Church tried to murder his reputation and the State applied its most brutal method of execution to deter any would-be followers who might want to make him a cause.

Human nature being what it is, he still comes back and speaks his truth. He still dodges assassins, he endures a show trial, he sits in a cell, he dies. A just world where the good and innocent are not made to suffer is not the world we live in. Between noon and 3pm today many people will take time to reflect on this.