Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Time to Party Up, Support Obamacare and Feed the Hungry

Today marks the end of the latest cycle of robo calls and, at least in my case, coming home to a porch littered with multiple copies of campaign literature beseeching me to vote for Noam Bramson for county executive of Westchester. Interestingly, nowhere on the flyers does it indicate Bramson’s party affiliation. Am I supposed to know the absence of any red color on the flyer means Bramson is a Democrat through and through? 

Why is it that almost all election literature, particularly those annoying road signs, and all radio and television ads fail to identify a candidate’s political party? It’s a real bugaboo of mine. Candidates should be proud of their party endorsement. It should be mandatory to include on all campaign material.

Simply Put, We Can't Start Over Again: No self-respecting Democrat can be happy with the launch of the Affordable Care Act. The Obamacare rollout is making it difficult to watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. The humor in the foul-up of the launch is painful to watch. At least no one is dying because of the screw-up. No country is being bombed back to the Stone Age or into the arms of al-Qaeda.

The only reason I’m not in favor of scrapping the program and beginning anew is that Republicans would never cooperate in drafting a more workable and still comprehensive bill that would care for tens of millions of Americans who need medical coverage. That’s a given, given the reluctance of numerous GOP-controlled state governments to enter into the federal program. They have refused to expand Medicaid eligibility. They have placed stumbling blocks before the navigators who are supposed to help citizens sign up for Obamacare. They have continually tried to defund enactment of the law. 

So we’re stuck with what we have. It’s not perfect. But it’s better than the “you’re-on-your-own” Republican plan for medical coverage.

How’s He Doing? Based on a Saturday Night Live skit three days ago, it turns out I have much in common with Afro-Americans. In a skit entitled “How’s He Doing,” black performers repeatedly affirmed their allegiance to President Obama despite missteps with Obamacare and the National Security Agency wiretapping scandal, as well as hypothetical questions about his possible conversion to another religion and his choice of an all white all-star basketball team to play with him against a Russian team assembled by Vladimir Putin. 

The tone of the skit was set when the host of the faux talk show asked, was there any time in the last month when you wished you would have voted for Mitt Romney? Uncontrollable laughter was the response. See for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nI0ib11evdU

Did you eat well today? Yesterday? The day before? Millions of your fellow citizens did not. On top of their hunger they had to swallow a sizable cut in the food stamp assistance program with Republicans threatening even deeper more emaciating reductions.

Waiting to oust GOP congressmen is impractical. We need to act individually to reap a collective response to hunger in America. Do at least what I do every month. Donate food to your local food bank. Don't just send a check, though money is always welcome. Don't just drop off groceries at your church or synagogue once a year. Go to Costco or some other low-cost provider and buy food for the hungry. $50 a month, or more if you can afford it. Take the food yourself to the food bank. Talk with the volunteers. Educate yourself to the needs of your neighbors. It will wind up being among your most worthy activities of the month.