Friday, January 22, 2010

This week

Beautiful Jenna left her loved ones earlier this week. Family and friends will gather at Spring Grove tomorrow to spread her ashes and celebrate her life, love, and friendship. I am moved and humbled by the spirit of family and community that continues to surround her.


I am -- we are? -- disconnected from everything that's going on in Washington. The Republican won the special election in Massachusetts, meaning the Democrats have a 59-41 majority, not a 60-40 majority. Because of the ridiculous Senate rules, this apparently means everything; and not a single Democratic senator or congressperson seems willing to fight, to put their jobs on the line to bring affordable health care to millions. They seemed relieved to have this excuse. They seemed feckless. These are the people standing up for the disenfranchised? These are who are fighting for the middle class? I've never felt such disappointment; with Bush in, we had an excuse. And maybe that's how they prefer it - having an excuse. It makes me sick and removed from the process. The only way Democrats will stay in office is by exciting their base - not pulling to the center. Because if they're going to act like Republicans, the public will end up voting in Republicans - because they at least pretend to be strong and committed to a cause greater than themselves (even if they are completely disingenuous).

I still believe wholeheartedly that Obama is the best for the job and that he's as sickened by the Democrats as I am. But after all, he's an introvert - he's not going to react in a loud rage. He's reflecting, figuring out his next move. (Yes, I love my Kool-Aid, thank you very much!)

And then there's the Supreme Court decision, declaring bans on corporate free speech unconstitutional. I have no idea what the immediate and long-term effects of this decision will be, but it's hard to imagine that there won't be a great confluence of corporate and political power.

Whatever, I blame Bush.


george rede said...

You go, Rachel! You've voiced everything I've been feeling watching this country attain soaring heights (remember Obama at Grant Park? remember Obama at the inauguration?) then come crashing down to the pits of mediocrity and spinelessness.

The Sunday talk shows need to book you -- right now!

August said...

It seems like the easiest scenario is for the House to pass the Senate version. Anything that gets passed in today's political environment will surely be weaker than anything a reasonable progressive would like. But it's better than what we have, and it will be easier to make changes later than it would be to pass an ideal version in the near future.

A couple weeks ago a student who's only been in the US for a few months (which is when he started learning English) turned in a clearly plagiarized essay. I asked him to explain the essay and he said he looked for the "best example" of a compare contrast essay, one with correct subject-verb agreement, topic sentences, and thorough development. The model essay he'd given me, he said, was better than anything he could write, and he wanted to give me something perfect, for the highest possible grade.

Perhaps he was just suckering me out of not kicking him out of the program for plagiarism, but I explained that I didn't want the "perfect" essay - I wanted his words, imperfect. Because once they're on paper, then we can begin the process of perfecting them. Of fixing subject-verb agreement, of developing key points.

He wrote another one - it was about half the required length, but it was clearly his writing. While he wanted an A in all his classes so badly, this wasn't realistic, given the demands of the classes and the barrier of speaking English as a second or third language. But getting a B or C is nothing to sneeze at - it's still a strong beginning that will allow him to continue the process.

The democrats still hold the moral high ground, but they seem to be hiding behind it. They're worried about these polls that show the unfavorability of health care reform. But they seem to forget the extent to which the public has been misinformed. I hope in the state of the union, Obama comes back to that: what reform means and why it's important - it's not about politics, but about real people.