Between & Beyond: Details In The Silence

This is a political column insofar as its goal is to highlight the totally worthless nature of American politics at this point in time. The big story this week was about a website. Not Twitter’s IPO, but the Affordable Care Act’s failure to launch a comprehensive and bug-free user interface. Pundits and politicians alike are of course very upset.

Much to my dismay, I am often accused of being a Democrat. When I act offended by this accusation, the response is often, “So, you are a Republican?” Of course, I am neither. Labels are boring, but what I am in reality is a Leftist. Republicans and Democrats are two Centrist parties squabbling over picked nits. And in the case of Healthcare Reform, it was the very last hope of Obama’s presidency having some legitimacy to distinguish it from Bush’s presidency. And here comes its utter failure. And here comes the revelatory moment where we find that business is being conducted quite according to the usual.

It’s not about the stupid website. It’s the failure of the plan to be truly revolutionary, affordable, accessible, and indicative of Leftist ideals. What America needs is a single-payer system; true universal care. Instead we have some kind of weird maneuver to take the burden off of Medicare/Medicaid and to put it on the already suffering middle class while ensuring and even possibly bolstering the revenue stream of the insurance industry. My reoccurring theme of profit vs. service shines like a thousand suns in this arena. The status quo of the insurance industry racket might have felt a blow when preexisting condition clauses were eradicated but it healed itself quite nicely. Employers are now required to insure part-time employees? My own employer has made mention of cutting back the hours of part-time employees to just below the amount required by law to provide coverage. Insurance companies are required to offer more comprehensive coverage? Sure thing, but not without jacking up the price and eradicating simpler more affordable plans.

So the Republicans are up in arms. Why? Not because they are concerned with justice and a society where the needs of its citizens are fulfilled. A Fox News article I read the other day was so insidiously vague as to suggest that those who voted for Obama would pay less than those who voted for Romney. The devil of the details has to do with the regulations of red states and blue states, so ironically red states would actually be paying more because they voted red lawmakers into power who lapsed on the very regulations that would ease the cost, but the mention of regulations was down at the bottom of the article, way after the incendiary writing and suggestive phrasing that made it seem like Obama was rewarding those who voted for him.

My point is that what is being left unsaid defines the lines of American politics much more clearly than what is being argued about histrionically. Republicans have made it their moral obligation to take the Obama administration to task for all its wrongdoings. In the face of the Affordable Care Act, Speaker Boehner shut the government down to halt such an intolerable injustice from going any further. My question is this: Are there party lines to draw when it comes to illegal surveillance programs? Of course, Republicans ushered in the Patriot Act and were in charge when good old-fashioned wiretapping made the headlines, but if there was a thread of honesty and decency in the motives of the Republicans, why wouldn’t they take this entirely scandalous scandal to task?

The NSA/Snowden story just has not stopped for a second since it broke earlier in the year. Just when it seems like the crazy has exhausted itself, something new comes down the line that is even more out of control than what came before. And as I write this, the New York Times has released its claim that the CIA pays AT&T $10 million a year to access its databanks. These are staggering claims and with no call for moral leadership the stories sink to the bottom beneath the comparative fluff that rises to the top like ACA and Syria. Not to trivialize war and healthcare, but, again, comparatively the systemic, outlandish and criminal behavior of what has become a surveillance industry seems far more profound of a story.

My point is not to don the conspiracy hat. I am merely suggesting we listen to the deafening silence. It’s a silence that speaks of an unadulterated absence of any moral compass. It speaks of special interests so tangled and self-serving that the government and corporations and the military are becoming indistinguishable. Republicans and Democrats agree more often than we realize. We tend to not realize because they do so quietly with a wink and a nudge. The political theater of squabble that we are privy to is only when they disagree on how to divide the horde of wealth and power they are gathering.