I refuse to be distracted by Phyllis Schlafly's latest misinformation campaign, nor will I be sucked into the increasing suspicions on Talking Points Memo that Michigan's Tea Party is in fact a front for Democrats who are trying to siphon votes away from GOP candidates this fall. No, I'm not going to fly like a mosquito into the bright blue light, because I have something else more important to say: goodbye. And I want to leave everyone with a few thoughts.
Heidegger said that "philosophy is its era expressed." I'm paraphrasing, but germane to that phrase is the idea that ideas live in moments, or rather, that culture creates the conditions necessary for the conversations that take place in its confines. Perhaps it's not so much that progressive people push culture further than it would have otherwise moved so much as culture needs to progress or else it risks collapsing in on itself. It doesn't seem to like to move too far, or too fast, at least not right now as far as I can tell. And I don't claim to be a clairvoyant. I'm certainly not saying that progressive politics are only invented by culture and that people don't have any kind of self-determination. But ideas run in cycles—take the philosophy about government regulations, for example. In the 20s, they're bad. The 30s, good. 50s, bad, wicked, 60s, new age of enlightenment. 80s and Reaganomics, they're bad bad bad again.
We are at the precipe once again. Congress looked at health care reform—I'm sure everyone noticed this—and finally passed a package to the tune of 900+ pages. But what was really in this bill? Was it socialist, as Rush and Glen and Mr. Hannity would have us believe? Were we going to give everyone a chicken and a wheelchair and call it a day?
In a few years, you won't be able to be denied coverage due to some pre-existing condition, which up until then, included being a survivor of domestic violence, pregnancy, and being too large at birth. You also won't get dumped off of your parents' coverage until age 26. And you'll be able to seek affordable coverage as an individual if your employer is excepted from carrying coverage for their employees.
There are a lot of feasibility programs and other studies in the bill, so says a source close to this author who has read the whole damn thing. A study on doctor rating programs' accuracy and effectiveness. A study on the effectiveness of scholarship programs for students in health care fields. A study to determine how many duplicate grant programs there are in health care.
It's not what's in the bill that I want people to think about. It's what isn't in it. There is, actually, no universal health care. No coverage for undocumented workers. No abortion coverage for people getting their insurance through the government collective. No coverage for transgender people seeking medical therapies. This was our great big hope? This bill? This, now law?
Ideas need currency. They need numbers behind them. They need to hook the power brokers of the media who write the reports and set the priorities for the news. Ideas need a great cultural moment, a tipping point, when enough people buy the idea and talk about the idea that it seems inevitable that it will have its effect on social strata.
We need to keep talking about health care, because we left out important communities. We need to keep talking about it because we left out important treatments. We need to keep talking about it because we're not done yet.
There are more than 25,000 Bitch Magazine fans on Facebook, and a whole slew of people who read these blogs regularly, and to all of you, I thank you. It's been an honor and a pleasure, and I look forward to having some online conversations about the upcoming midterm elections this fall. In the meantime please keep in touch on my blog, trans/plant/portation, and on the ever-fabulous I Fry Mine in Butter pop culture blog. Keep talking and agitating and putting pressure on our elected leaders. Because we're not nearly done yet.