Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2009 Airing of Grievances: No Shortage of Disappointment

I heard of one “Festivus for the Rest of Us” celebration at the Unicorn Bar tonight in Old Town Lansing (MI). Frog and the Beeftones will be jamming in between “The Airing of Grievances,” “Feats of Strength,” and other shenanigans. I won’t be there myself, but hope to go next year when Michigan’s smoking ban is in place. My disposable income and I generally steer clear of smoky venues.

I was a little more grumpier than normal today, so it got me in the best mood to air out my grievances for 2009. My list for the traditional “airing of grievances” came out much less humorous than I had envisioned a few days ago. The progressive world doesn't need another Jon Stewart or Colbert anyway. So let’s all fess up and admit it: I GOT A LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH YOU PEOPLE, AND NOW YOU’RE GOING TO HEAR ABOUT IT!

Disappointing me this year in the world of public policy were…

1. NPR News editors, especially from Morning Edition, who allowed their reporters to freely, and without full explanation, label some specific and not-so-specific U.S. Senators involved in the health care reform process and debate as “moderates.” By play-pretending in their reporting that conservative Democrats were “moderate” and as such the “voices of reason,” NPR consistently painted a positive image of conservative Democrats – some who can easily be deemed camouflaged conservative Republicans – who are friendly to the insurance industry and determined to kill any real reform that would extend coverage and health care to millions of everyday Americans. Disagree? Tell it to Arlen Specter or Joe Lieberman or Max Baucus…or…

2. Health Care Reform activists, specifically the national organizers, for not calling for a massive march on Washington, D.C. in August 2009. The health care reform issue and debate is one of the most important confronting America since the Civil Rights campaign in the 1960s. Those of us demanding health care coverage and comprehensive reform should have greeted Congress members at their office doors when they returned from the August summer recess. Instead, health care reformers, including President Obama at the time, were Swift-boated for weeks in the media. As a result, pro-health care advocates have been out-strategized and continue to lose in this national debate.

3. The American Anti-Tax, Anti-Government Movement whose members loudly ranted and raved about federal government spending and deficits, but who were turtles during the 8 years when Bush-Cheney – in good Ronald Reagan fashion – cut taxes, multiplied military spending, and blew the lid off of federal deficit spending. Does this movement think that no one notices that there is hardly a multi-billion dollar defense budget that these people won’t support with nary a complaint about the military establishment siphoning over 50% of federal spending each year (talk about BIG GOVERNMENT!). If they truly want to reign in federal spending, they should rant to yank the national credit card from the military establishment.

4. Conservative Parents who are so willing to throw their kids to the wolves of the health insurance industry, just to defend against a mythological monster they call (sometimes interchangeably) socialism, communism, and fascism. They’d rather save a few dollars in their pocket than pool their money with the community to provide health insurance coverage for their children, young adults, and other members of their family, as well as everyone else. So while health care coverage is provided in free countries around the globe, conservative parents don’t mind sending their kids into a health care system that will either ruin them financially or make them suffer physically, or both. And, again, these same people hardly say boo-hoo to the billions in federal military spending.

5. President Barack Obama when he claims a “historic” health care bill that doesn't provide full coverage for everyone, claims a Nobel Peace Prize without the peace, and declares Copenhagen “meaningful” when it falls well short of what the planet needs to survive. His many supporters are realizing, however slowly, that public policy cannot live on Hope alone; it must be backed up with some real leadership and fortitude.

Disappointing me this year in the world of sports were…

1. William Clay Ford for remaining the owner of the Detroit Lions. The fans have targeted the complaints at the players, coaches, general manager and others. There is only one real place for blame: William Clay Ford, who remains completely out of touch with the workings of professional football. Ford has been fortunate that the loyal fan base has not seriously attempted to hold him directly accountable for the decades-long sad state of the team. Instead, many fans have generously bought game tickets, patronized the stadium concession stands, and purchased Lions apparel and products. So why would Ford change or pay attention to the mechanics of building a winning team when he is so busy counting his mega-profits from the team?

2. The dunderhead Michigan State University football players were who arrested for assault during an incident on campus last month. There were nine players who got into trouble. Supposedly, one or two players convinced the others to help defend their honor in a dispute with other students on campus. Thus, the MSU football players seriously tarnished bright futures – including some futures that might include the NFL – to defend someone’s false and misdirected sense of honor. This street-wise sense of “honor” gets you nowhere, except eventually to jail or the grave.

3. Tiger Woods who should have come out to a press conference and told the reporters, “Listen, I’m a billionaire. A billionaire with a B. I don’t care what you think. I care what my wife thinks and will deal with it privately. No further comment.”

Festive Festivus to you and yours!

-- Rico Thomas Rico

1 comment:

thatdamnredhead said...

Nice list! I almost forgot about Festivus! Maybe I should follow your footsteps and compose my own blog of grievances ...

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