I Could Have Been Hillary's Hospital Story

I watched with sadness the circus surrounding Hillary Clinton's story of Trina Bachtel, the young woman who lost her life in the maze of health care inequities. The media attached themselves to one hospital's denial, like a dog on a bone.  Then with tepid enthusiasm, when the story was found to be essentially true, the media shifted, cleared their throat, and moved on. The media and Hillary Clinton's critics missed the essential point of the story, and how Bachtel's previous period of uninsurance contributed to the tragedy.  

As details emerged around the story, I became convinced that my own experience with being unisured could have very well turned out exactly as the one Hillary told in her speeches.  

In the 1980s I was younger, and uninsured. I was also pregnant. Though my baby was to be put up for adoption at birth, I was determined to care for myself and the baby as best I could without health care.  I received some care through County clinics, but was unable to have a regular ob/gyn to monitor me on a regular basis.  I had no job, and no permanent home.  

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Infatuation Nation

We have officially become the Infatuation Nation. Our obsession with celebrity has  permeated the political process, our lives, and the lives of our children.  

Millions of words and hours of video are now devoted to the tragedy which is Brittney Spears' life. The pointless stories about celebrity lives share the same importance as matters of national security, the economy, and environment. No, wait... actually celebrity stories are usually given more priority than issues that actually affect our lives.  The conglomeration of the media is an ugly stew of entertainment companies, news organizations, appliance manufacturers, military defense contractors, all under control by the same Board of Directors and shareholders. The line between news and entertainment, and subtance and celebrity, is blurred in the interest of profit.

And now we have Candidate Obama. Unless you're a luddite, you recognize him as the leading candidate for President of the Infatuation Nation. He is a celebrity.  It makes no difference to many that his speeches have rehashed paragraphs from another candidacy (written by the same staff they both employed.) It makes no difference that his words (actually not his words) lose their punch when he is left without a teleprompter and lighting and sound technicians. It makes no difference that his plans are often rehashed from those of other candidates, being "introduced" months after theirs. It makes no diffrence that his verifiable accomplishments are lacking in comparison to the other candidates in areas that really matter in returning America to health.  It makes no difference that his fans cannot articulate his positions or experience with issues that matter in every day life. It does not matter that David Axelrod, the architect of Obama's candidacy and that of the mirror candidacy of Devaul Patrick, will no doubt occupy the same position that Karl Rove did, in Bush's Infatuation Nation White House.

What matters in the Infatuation Nation is celebrity.  What is important to the people that pack the caucuses is celebrity. Obama is famous. And like many celebrities, he is famous not for what he's done, but for who the public perceives him to be. Like an actor, he is only judged by the words he says and the set on which he says them.  Websites and blogs are devoted to proclaiming him to be a "messiah." Murals and paintings of him are springing up around the Country with his face along side MLK, Nelson Mandela, and other men with years of sacrifice and of accomplishment.  What has Obama done to earn his place amongst those men of accomplishment, other than speaking their lines and adopting their style of speaking?  

The Obama movement has jumped the shark. When George Bush was vaulted into celebrity by adoring fans, and when the media fawned him into the office, I couldn't help but think of Chauncy the Gardener, of Being There.  While Barrack Obama is obviously more intelligent and capable than George Bush, the process and result is the same in our Infatuation Nation. Perception is reality.  The media need only proclaim that you are (fill in the blank) and it is so.

The Infatuation Nation requires only that their leader be whatever they project him to be.  He is saintly, he is inspirational, he is god-like, he will lead us out of our problems.  The Infatuation Nation only cares that crowds swarm their new chosen one, that people scream and cry when he speaks.  That is enough for the citizens of the Infatuation Nation. They don't want a manager to clean up the country, they need a saint.

The ugly side of the Infatuation Nation turns on those that do not support their chosen one. We are villified, we are marginalized. We are categorized as poor, uneducated, racists for not seeing the beauty and perfection of their chosen one. Like a 12 year old that does not like Hannah Montana, we are outcasts in our own Party. We can no longer sit at the "populars" table.

And if the Obama is elected as the new leader of our Infatuation Nation, the Congress will not be weeping as he speaks, the Republicans will not faint nor cry when he comes into the room, and the leaders of Rogue Nations will not care that he has his own ring tone. Global warming will not reverse because of the chills it receives when Obama speaks. The children of our country cannot eat fame, they cannot get well from celebrity, they cannot save their house from foreclosure by touching Obama's hand.  

The Infatuation Nation must go.  Long live America!

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Well, it's a "big deal" to me!

If I were still an Obama supporter, I'd be pretty miffed this morning. Though I lost interest in him, favoring Edwards and Clinton when I didn't find the substance I was seeking, the supporters I know all cite his speeches as the reason they support him. "He's so inspirational!" they tell me. That's not enough for me, but it's good enough for them.

How must these people feel today to learn that at least one of his most inspiration moments, invoking not only MLK but JFK for good measure, is.. well... from someone else's speech. Heck, safe to say it's from someone else's speechwriter. Chris Matthews must be heartbroken to realize that the "shiver down his leg" was probably due to some other guy's speechwriter. How embarrassing!

Obama says it's "no big deal." I disagree. It IS a big deal. It's a big deal to me.  When a candidate's main appeal is his ability to inspire and touch people with his theatrical rallies and speeches, you had better believe it matters that the words have integrity.  Now, one of his most famously inspiring quotes... is nothing more than something that "sounded good, go ahead and use it." Many people are looking past his lack of experience, and lack of depth on important issues (and his discomfort with having to discuss those issues in a non-theatrical setting.)  

Obama's reasonable supporters, not the fanatical ones that will enevitably post venomous comments because I critized their leader, will have to ask themselves what this truly means to them.  When a candidate asks his supporters to suspend the usual criteria by which we'd judge a potential President, then what he offers had better be authentic.

Senator Obama said today that he "writes most of his speeches" so it's not a big deal. Common sense would dictate that now we've seen that at least one major component of Obama's appeal is lifted from someone else's speech, you'd start asking questions and digging deeper.

It's no secret that he has released an economic plan months after Senator Clinton, lifting major elements and specific details from her plan. This a pattern that is being repeated far too often. A line here and there from Alice Walker's writings delivered in a speech as his won words, an entire paragraph of another, and numerous policy details from other campaigns. An affectation of speech to match the audience; Lighting and sound technicians manipulating the experience for maximum theatrics.  And all designed to build a following of a man... and a following is not what it takes to clean up our Country.  

"Don't tell me words don't matter," said Barack Obama at the Wisconsin Democratic Party Founders Day dinner on Saturday in a rebuttal to Hillary Rodham Clinton's assessment that he is about "speeches" and not "solutions." He then goes on to quote some very famous lines. Just about the same thing Patrick said in a speech in 2006, when he was running for governor. Patrick is endorsing Obama."

http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2008/02/ sweet_barack_obama_lifts_some.html

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Obama can beat McCain?

Ah, it must be primary season. Do you think that people will fall for this foolishness again?  AP just released a poll that Obama would narrowly defeat McCain, while Hillary Clinton would be tied with him, IF THE ELECTION WERE HELD TODAY.  

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080211/ap_o n_el_pr/presidential_race_ap_poll

These polls are useless right now. Not because of their methodology, nor bias, nor sampling. They are totally useless because the General Election will not be held today.  The rush to crown Obama as the Democratic nominee produces these breathless stories of his electability against McCain.  The obvious problem is that this is an unexamined candidate who is being propelled right now by media coverage of weeping fans and victories in caucus states (which is more of that weeping fan thing but on a smaller scale).  The media has not begun examining him, nor presenting anything but his "Hannah Montana-ness" right now.  

Does anyone truly believe that the media is going to continue his free pass after the Democratic Convention? Or will be be revoked, as it was for John Kerry against George Bush?  The media is fickle, and they are also corporate-owned.

A mythical match-up makes for great headlines right now.. but an unexamined candidate with a fawning press should make you nervous, not confident, about your chances in November.  

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Diaries

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