Eleanor Roosevelt: Democratic governments

“In the final analysis, a democratic government represents the sum total of the courage and the integrity of its individuals. It cannot be better than they are.”

Eleanor Roosevelt
Circa 1963

I have nothing left

I am exhausted.

For two years, we’ve faced a constant assault on our nation’s values, our democratic institutions, and our fellow citizens, especially the most vulnerable among us. Along with the rest of the country, I have watched as:

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I Fear Insurance Companies More Than a “Government Takeover”

I worry a lot about the state of health care in the US. The system we have now is unsatisfactory and unsustainable. And access to health care is so vital. But I don’t see a solution coming any time soon.

The most common argument offered against the US moving to a system of universal health care (whether it is “Medicare For All” or whatever) is that it will be a “government takeover” of our health care. It will “give the power and control over health care decisions to the bureaucrats in Washington DC.”

The idea that “The Government” is going to be making your medical decisions is supposed to scare the hell out of you. It’s supposed to conjure up images of some bureaucrat in a cheap suit sitting in a nondescript office in Washington writing prescriptions and deciding whether or not Grandpa gets to have his chemotherapy this week. OMG “Death Panels!” The Democrats want to turn us into Venezuela! This is a typical scare tactic by conservatives and the CEOs of multinational corporations who think that our money works better when its in their bank accounts. “The Government is the enemy! Be afraid!” We’ve heard it all before: in the 90s they wanted to privatize Social Security. Then it was Charter Schools. And then privatizing roads and bridges all over the country. In the US, we’ve been trained over the last 40 years to believe that the Free Market is our friend and that The Government is our enemy. And we’re convinced. Because a fear of The Government plays nicely off of our historical enmity of Communism and fear of its “political twin” Socialism.

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Eleanor Roosevelt: on Democracy

“A democracy can never succeed unless each individual takes responsibility for his nation, its policies and the representatives he elects.”

Eleanor Roosevelt
May 26, 1943

Our Defeats Will Steel Our Resolve

I just realized something:

All of the “defeats” that we have been subjected to over the last two years, that have left us so deflated and demoralized, are not defeats at all. They are signposts along the way to our better future. They are there to energize us, and more than that, to test our resolve:

Do we really believe in our cause? Or is it just so many empty words?

Are we whiners who expect that everything will go our way, and when it does not we throw up our hands in defeat? Or are we willing to get our hands dirty and do the hard work necessary to create the future that we believe in?

Do we wallow in defeat and demoralization while everything wastes away at the hands of a small group of people who will walk all over our rights and our dignity and take it away from us? Or do we fight back?

Do we really believe in the promise of our country? That all of us are created equal. That hard work will be rewarded fairly. That we can leave a better world for our children. That ours is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Because right now — at this moment — we are engaged in the great test of our generation: can the promise of this country endure?

We have been sitting here pining for someone to step up, waiting for someone to emerge and show us the way. We have been desperate for a leader so we can follow them to the promised land. But we don’t need a leader to follow: we already know the way. We can join hands and walk there together.

There is a great task ahead of us. And we will take increased devotion to our cause from the defeats we have suffered. But we will not be demoralized. We will not be defeated. We will not let others steal our hope. We will not watch our country crumble. We will steel ourselves for the fight ahead. And we will succeed.

Our future is one month away. Let’s go.

Have a Little Pity For Senator Manchin

A lot of people are really mad at Senator Joe Manchin right now. Today he voted to confirm very controversial, very conservative nominee Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The final vote was 50 to 48, with Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski voting “present” (meaning she didn’t vote either yes or no) and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia being the only Democrat to vote yes.

Liberals are branding him a traitor, calling him spineless, labeling him a self-serving coward, and threatening to back his Republican opponent in November.

But have a little pity for poor Joe Manchin. It’s not easy being blue (in a red state).

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