Posts Tagged ‘Obama’
Olympian Vote—for Healthcare
Debbi K. Swanson Patrick
Three weeks ago Obama is hosting a controversial slate of leaders in New York at the UN, loses a bid for the Olympics, then he’s receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, and now, an $829 billion healthcare bill is on its way to the senate. Been a heck of a few weeks.
One vote stood out in the healthcare bill passage, that of Republican Maine Senator Olympia Snowe. The more I learn about this woman, the more impressed I am. Yet what does the Huffington Post have to say about it? Well immediately below their headline about this momentous occasion, they pondered what she would WEAR for the occasion. Really?
Then I realized that this attention is an honor to a woman who has endured, overcome, and achieved much. This attention to wardrobe is a far cry than that paid to that Alaskan “rogue” who had to have the Republicans buy her a decent set of clothes. This attention is more in line with commentary on other women of note, Jackie Kennedy and Michele Obama. The comments about Ms. Snowe reflect her demeanor, her class, her composure, her fierce dedication to her work—and a collection of impressive suits that “suit” her hard-won status.
She has overcome the childhood loss of her parents and her first husband, and separation from one brother, to be the only woman selected in 2006 by Time as one of “America’s 10 Best Senators. She’s been praised for her sensitivity to her constituents and Time noted: “Because of her centrist views and eagerness to get beyond partisan point scoring, Maine Republican Olympia Snowe is in the center of every policy debate in Washington.”
And, according to Wikipedia, Snowe did not miss any of the 657 votes on the Senate floor during the 110th Congress from 2007 to 2009, one of only eight senators to do so. Govtrack.us reports she’s only missed 34 of 7701 votes since 1990. She is the fourth woman to serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee and the first to chair its seapower subcommittee, which oversees the Navy and Marine Corps. In 2001, Snowe became the first Republican woman to secure a full-term seat on the Senate Finance Committee.
Snowe was the youngest Republican woman ever elected to the United States House of Representatives; she is also the first woman to have served in both houses of a state legislature and both houses of the U.S. Congress. Additionally, she is the first Greek-American congresswoman. With her 1989 marriage to McKernan, she became the first person to simultaneously be a member of Congress and First Lady of a state. She has a strong face, serious and also joyful. She has never lost an election in 35 years.
As for the vote, no, it would’ve passed without her support. Her vote is a moral one, consistent with past votes that broke the Republican line.
This from the New York Times: “Is this bill all that I would want?” Ms. Snowe said. “Far from it. Is it all that it can be? No. But when history calls, history calls. And I happen to think that the consequences of inaction dictate the urgency of Congress to take every opportunity to demonstrate its capacity to solve the monumental issues of our time.”
Ms. Snowe’s remarks silenced the packed committee room, riveted colleagues and thrilled the White House. President Obama had sought her vote, hoping that she would break with Republican leaders and provide at least a veneer of bipartisanship to the bill, which he has declared his top domestic priority.
Mr. Obama, speaking in the Rose Garden, described the committee’s action as “a critical milestone” and declared, “We are now closer than ever before to passing health reform.” But he added: “Now is not the time to pat ourselves on the back. Now is not the time to offer ourselves congratulations. Now is the time to dig in and work even harder to get this done.”
With its vote Tuesday, the Finance Committee became the fifth — and final — Congressional panel to approve a sweeping health care bill. The action will now move to the floors of the House and the Senate, where the health care measures still face significant hurdles.
Debbi K. Swanson Patrick
This has been a week for the sour and the sweet. From Joe Wilson heckling the president during a joint session of Congress, pictured here, to the father hugging his little girl who threw the baseball back onto the field after Daddy’s fine catch. There were some other cases of obvious outbursts, too—Serena Williams at the US Open, even Roger Federer letting the f-word out, and everyday folks at town hall meetings and those incensed during protests against national health insurance.
But Joe Wilson’s outburst was exceptional. To blurt out in a joint session of Congress, and call the president a liar for trying to move forward the work of Ted Kennedy and others so that Americans can have a secure form of health coverage? It’s right that he was rebuked.
So up pops this from the Kennebec Journal, this about a previous representative from South Carolina:
“U.S. Rep. Preston Brooks of South Carolina beat U.S. Sen. Charles Sumner of Massachusetts to within a hair of his life on the Senate floor in 1856. It took Sumner years to recover from the infamous attack, which Brooks made with a gold-topped cane.”
So we’ve improved a bit, but it seems as if people are just so frustrated with the sheer volume of issues we have to deal with, they’re busting at the seams. At town council meetings, on blog and web site comments, and anywhere else they can display their displeasure, people are screaming to be heard.
Some people are turning their anger into good, to counter the apocalyptic feels overtaking so many of us. And some of us take pictures of what’s happening around here. Post your photos of public protests, signs of global warming, poverty, environmental damage or improvements, people doing good deeds, whatever the issue, share what you have captured. Post your pix to the digiphotomag site on flickr.
See you in two weeks. Off for a little east coast vacation. Of course if something big happens…
Debbi K. Swanson Patrick
Well, let’s just say I’m appalled. States banning an address by the President of the United States to American school children on the value of education? What is going on in this country? How do you spell racism? I-G-N-O-R-A-N-C-E. Or perhaps H-A-T-R-E-D. This abandonment of the pillars of our Constitution is true obscenity to me.
I chose this photo from AP because it shows that this speech was about the students, not about politics or Obama, other than a president usually likes to be well thought of. He wasn’t trying to sell the country on going to war against a dictator who may have been vile, but hadn’t committed any terrorist acts against the United States. He was telling our children to value themselves, value their education, value this country. And parents want to prevent their children from hearing that? Am I hearing this correctly??
How’s this for a news clip? This one from the open-armed state of Colorado:
–Shanneen Barron, a Highlands Ranch mother, said she normally isn’t involved in political activism, even though a sign in her front yard reads “Vote Republican.” But she said she is worried that Obama will put forth a socialist agenda and try to indoctrinate her children.
“Thinking about my kids in school having to listen to that just really upsets me,” she said. “I’m an American. They are Americans, and I don’t feel that’s OK. I feel very scared to be in this country with our leadership right now.”
She and her husband will keep their kids at home Tuesday when Obama makes his nationwide address to students.–
My comment: And I guess they’ll also continue to be ignorant. My ex-fiance’s brother designed Highlands Ranch so I’ve spent time in this perfectly white conservative enclave. Every house is painted a variation of beige. I grew up in similar neighborhoods where, like the movie Pleasantville, everyone was afraid to have too much color.
But back to a more rational view of the story at hand, from the Denver News:
–A White House spokesman released this statement: “The President will speak directly to students around the country about the value of education and the importance of staying in school as part of his effort to dramatically cut the dropout rate. It’s not a policy speech.”
Supporters are concerned about what they call the increased politicization of issues by extremists.
“It’s just kind of ridiculous to think that people are worried that a visit from the president is going to turn their children into socialists overnight or be the kick start to a socialist program,” said Ryan Kelling, a Denver resident. “There’s not much debate about real issues, and this just continues the trend of politicizing everything.”–
My comment: AMEN, BROTHER.
And from Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, via AP:
–PHILADELPHIA – On the very first day of the school year, 12-year-old Mileena Rodriguez was reminded by President Barack Obama himself that hard work can take you places. Mileena listened to Obama’s plea to study hard and stay in school Tuesday, watching along with several of her classmates at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School and students across the country. For all the hubbub among adults over the back-to-school speech, many youngsters took the president’s message to heart.
“He said that we’re the future, and he’s right,” said Mileena, who wants to be a forensic scientist. “That’s a president telling you, `I care about you getting your education.’ Just imagine what kids like us can do if we actually listen.”–
My comment: And just imagine how great this country could be if people would open their hearts, and their minds so they could actually think instead of operate on fear and hatred. Paranoia, exclusivity, and ignorance are the problems, not President Obama nor his message to work hard and make something of yourself. That is the message that this country was built on and has been given by presidents past. Do we have collective amnesia? Is the color of the president’s skin enough to make people literally lose their minds? Are these the United States?
If you attended Obama’s speech, send in your photo and your thoughts.
photo via Getty Images
I can’t help but be extremely sad over the loss of Ted Kennedy. I’m going to Boston in three weeks and he won’t be there. My whole life he’s been there, and now he isn’t. His spirit is, of course, in all the work that he’s done in 47 years in the Senate.
For me his loss is bringing up many of my childhood memories: His brother JFK when I was in Mrs. Silvera’s class in Lockhurst Drive Elementary. His brother Bobby when I was in Hale Junior High. Martin Luther King at the same time. My father when I was 17. It feels like we’ve lost America’s uncle, not just the family’s. We’ve lost the man who has fought for the rights of labor, the disenfranchised, and those who have been discriminated against.
Yes, he was wise to bestow his blessings and grace upon our current president, to be sure his legacy is honored in the healthcare work that is being done today, for tomorrow. Socialist? Hardly. Giving all Americans the right to decent healthcare? Providing an expectation of a decent quality of life? Priceless. Yet everybody wants to hang the pricetag out for battering and bruising. How do you put a pricetag on humanity?
What are you thoughts on the world without Ted Kennedy?