As I watched this clip of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) predicting a “day of judgement” for the obstructionists (Republicans) in the Senate, I began writing this post. I was just going to post a link with a sentence of high praise for the Senator’s speech.
But something happened. As I started typing, Senator Whitehouse kept repeating the phrase “the bill.” My eight-year old daughter said “Daddy, what IS ‘the bill’?” Not wanting to get too deep into the weeds with my child on the minutiae of health care reform policy or the arcana of Senate parliamentary procedure, I simply said “health care reform.”
Apparently, though, in my zeal to not confuse her or talk her ear off, I’d gone just a tad too far the other way; I hadn’t given quite enough information to satisfy her curiosity. “What do you mean, Daddy,” she followed up? “Making sure people have access to affordable health care, sweetie,” I answered.
“What’s wrong with that,” she wondered out loud, puzzled? “Why do people keep talking about it and arguing against it?”
And though, as glued to the ins and outs of this debate as I’ve been, I could easily give her – or you – chapter and verse on the various factions and forces which have been brought to bear on this issue and have brought us to the present, almost theatrically absurd tableau, I found that none of it really made a lot of sense – not in a way I could explain to an eight year old…and not even, really, to myself.
Why indeed, dear one?
Here’s Sheldon Whitehouse’s speech – the best of the lot from the excruciatingly long session yesterday. Take five and a half minutes out of your day to absorb it, and, as you do, ask yourself where the United States Senate falls on the functional-to-dysfunctional spectrum, and what it’s going to mean for the future of our republic.