Dear Diary

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Dear Diary

So here it is, my 62nd birthday. It took forever to get here as the long, scary, AWFUL year that was 2020 trudged along at a snails pace. Unfortunately 2021 didn’t start out as any bargain either.

The new year wasn’t the cause for celebration I once hoped it would be. The virus was still thriving because people got impatient, the Feds didn’t listen to the science, and we reopened too soon. Long story short, over 500,000 people in this country are dead and the numbers have only recently started to plateau. At least we have finally started to come together as a nation, but what a torturous path it was to get here.

I was a kid in 1968 and had no understanding of how torn apart this country really was. It wasn’t until I watched some of the historical retrospectives on that year that I fully understood and appreciated the turmoil and divide that plagued us. I was happy not to have been an adult during that time because I would have been freaking out, fearing for our future, and gave thanks that I would never have to live through anything like that. Of course, the second half of 2020 made 1968 look like a walk in the park.

When roughly half the states ignored the scientists pleas and reopened in June, the results were actually pretty good for a short while. The naysayers and those who embraced the fake news mantra puffed their chests out and screamed “I told you so.” Trump’s popularity skyrocketed, and the economy started showing signs of coming back.

Then the second surge hit. It ravaged Middle America and the rural population areas before spreading outward to both coasts. Even though a good chunk of Trump’s  cabinet got sick, the President typically insisted it was all a hoax designed to make him look bad. When the Northeast, the Mid Atlantic and the West coast continued to resist opening, and were joined by some of the states who realized the terrible mistake they had made, his “followers” took things into their own hands, and the violence that erupted far surpassed that of 1968.

When the second surge exploded, the scientist’s fears came to fruition: hospitals got overrun and could not meet the demand, in part because our testing capability was worse than when the initial surge hit, and because the second surge took out a lot of our front line healthcare workers as the PPE shortage forced clinicians have to wear what they had longer than they did the first time around.  Meanwhile, our food supply chain collapsed, and unemployment got as high as 40%. Only recently has it started to decline. It has dropped to 34% and continues to decrease.

When Trump and the Republicans got crushed in November, he claimed the results fraudulent, which wasn’t a surprise since he started beating that drum during the summer, saying he was afraid of massive voter fraud designed to remove him from office. Insisting he was cheated, he refused to accept the results, the followers hit the streets and the second wave of violence hit. Thank God the Supreme Court ruled against him, but he still didn’t change his tune until he, Pence and President-Elect Biden got the virus.  We really didn’t start coming together as a nation, however, until Biden died shortly before the inauguration (Trump and Pence survived, barely). Thankfully Biden’s passing did not occur until after the electoral college formally cast its votes, and the results became official and irrevocable. Who knows what might have happened otherwise. The country has rallied around the Harris/Warren administration, and I think we are finally starting to heal.

As for me, we still haven’t sold the house, and can’t even rent it. If this goes on for another three months I am going to have to dip into the retirement funds, but at this point I could really give a shit. I’ve lost close to a dozen friends, colleagues and relatives to the disease, so the fact that Nidan, K and I have survived is all that counts. The fact that I am among the lucky 66% still working is a blessing too. Things could be infinitely worse.

You know diary, I always thought I was lucky to be born when I was. I mean, I got to experience The Beatles, saw man walk on the moon, witnessed the Red Sox win not only one World Series but four, saw the turn of the new century and so many technological advances it makes your head spin. But never in my life did I ever expect to witness what I have these past nine months, when the dark side of human nature was unleashed. I even bought a gun when the looting got really bad, for goodness sakes. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that would ever happen.

At least the population got so pissed and disgusted that there finally seems to be enough momentum to pass Congressional term limits. Cover themselves in glory they did not, and the electorate seem firm in their conviction that any house rep or senator who votes against it will serve for only one term.  It’s a pity it took something so catastrophic to make this happen.

I am cautiously optimistic the page has been turned, and am looking forward to being able to go where I please without fear, not to mention being able to watch professional sports some time in the near future. I don’t know what VE or VJ days were like at the end of World War Two, but I can’t imagine a bigger celebration than the one that will occur when the vaccine that has finally been developed is rolled out in a few days. 

So enough of the maudlin shit, diary! Life as we knew it appears to be finally returning, so a huge HORRAY is in order, and it is time to turn the page.  Having said that, it’s silly to assume life will be the same as it was before the pandemic hit. How could it after all the death, carnage and animosity? We have all been touched by this in some fashion, and are forever changed as a result. Only time will tell if it is for the better or the worse.

 

Random Thoughts 2

writers block

Emptying this cluttered mind of idea fragments and thoughts that have percolated the last few weeks.

One of the many things I am fascinated about witnessing is how we as a society and culture adjust to the new reality once this is over. Think back to the World War Two era, where our citizen’s lives were dominated by this cataclysmic event for almost four years. While this episode in our history won’t last that long, I suspect it may take as long if not longer to adjust to the new normal compared to when that war was over, the soldiers came home, and reconstruction began.

The industries that will take the longest to recover, and may never be the same, are: Sports and entertainment; the hotel/guest services industries; the various travel industries. Until a proven vaccine is created and made available to the masses, I can’t see anyone being comfortable in placing themselves among a mass of people. I’m certainly not.

Be that as it may, we know that sports will resume at some point. But what will that look like until the vaccine is available? I think the days of all the seats being filled are gone until then. Perhaps there will be mandated gaps/spacing between seats, and food services will be suspended. Either way it will look and feel completely different. I think the basketball and hockey seasons are over, and I question how much of a baseball season is realistic. The NFL? Coin flip that it starts on time.

It will also be interesting to see how or if the various sports unions and ownership groups play nice in the sandbox as they try to adjust salaries and compensation to account for the loss of gate revenue. I doubt you will see mega contracts that have become commonplace emerge for a few years. Mookie Betts and free agents like him are going to get screwed. They may be better off doing one year deals until this all gets sorted.

There used to be a buffer between the emotions I felt and what I’d show, but not anymore. I find that I am much quicker to laugh, cry, or become angry than ever before. Is that just me?

Perhaps it is because I’m more reflective and am thinking about deeper stuff as events unfold, but I’ve come up with a LOT of good writing ideas. I have at least a half dozen things I can share via this blog. It’s just a matter of taking the time to develop them. For now, I start a post, write the opening paragraph, and let it sit for future development.

I could care less about politics right now, because I really think whatever “campaigning” occurs between now and Labor Day is a waste of time. This virus and how it plays out will dictate the election’s outcome. My only concern and frustration is that the virus issue has become a political football. Those entrenched in power are screwed if the economy is as dormant as it is now, so the pressure exists to end the distancing protocols and get people working again, which would be a disaster should that occur too soon. I mean, how good can the economy be if the virus growth explodes more than it has now , and the fatalities explode with it? Unfortunately, competing camps are getting different directives, which will make it take that much longer to reach the end of this road. In todays ultra polarized environment,  politics supersedes the common good. How sad.

Can we please stop with the lawsuits? An attorney in Connecticut filed suit against our governor over a new requirement to wear masks in public, saying it was an infringement on an individual’s constitutional rights. Can we also stop the mass protesting about “freeing” our people and the economy? Even if you are true believers that this is all overkill, and media-driven paranoia (which I don’t) are you really willing to take that chance and put you and your loved ones at risk? Haven’t you ever heard of science? I don’t get it.

When we do come up with a vaccine, what are we going to do about those who don’t believe in them? I can hardly wait to read the vitriol from those who feel nobody should be required or forced against their will to get the shot. An individual’s right is secondary to the common good in these situations from where I sit, so I say tie them down, give them the vaccine, and drown out the noise.

If you had to bet everything you own on the over/under as to when this threat will over, when would that be? My bet would be November 2021. That’s a long ass time.

Of all the little annoying things that crop up dealing with MS, putting socks on is at the top of that list. I typically do this while sitting on the side of my bed, but don’t have the flexibility I used to, especially first thing in the morning.  I can’t force the issue because if I do I’ll lean forward too far and fall off the bed (it’s happened). I have to put the left sock before the right (my bad foot/leg), because if I do the opposite, the foot slides forward and I find my body falling with it. So what is the solution? Putting them on before I go to bed.

The planet is going to get a break this summer. With less cars on the road, factories not running at full capacity, the air quality should certainly be better as the amount of greenhouse gases released will be significantly curtailed. Cities whose skylines were hard to see due to smog should look clear and pristine by comparison. I wonder if this will have any impact at all on the severity of storms over the next two years. It certainly can’t hurt.

I have access to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Xfinity on Demand and a host of other platforms that I can’t think of off the top of my head, and there is still nothing to watch, which is sad given the expense. Guess I’m going to have to give things that appear interesting a whirl, but guess there will four to five duds for every keeper. Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?

I haven’t filled the gas tank in our two cars in over a month, and neither has much less than half a tank remaining. Bet I’m not the only one saving money like this without trying.

Am I the only one who is drinking more than before?

I was afraid that I’d gain a ton of weight while waiting out this storm, but I’ve actually lost weight. I suspect I am in the minority. It must be the stress.

Be safe!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Long Slog To November

Ballot-box

We are hot and heavy into the primary season, and everybody has an opinion. I get at least a dozen posts every day from various Facebook friends that promote one side or tear down the other, not to mention an increasing number of posts from fellow bloggers.

There are two subjects I avoid like the plague, and political commentary is one of them. Having said that, I felt compelled to share my take one time between now and November, but assumed it would be after Labor day, when things really heat up. Maybe it’s because I can’t think of anything else to write about, but now seems as good a time as any because my beliefs aren’t going to change. Before I proceed, however, here are a few things you should know about me.

I am fiscally conservative but socially liberal, which puts me squarely in the middle. I believe in equal rights, freedom of reproductive choice, human rights and financial prudence. I believe those in need should have a safety net, but am against rampant entitlements. I believe climate change is the biggest single danger facing our planet, and that those who think it is bullshit are either fools or liars.

I value anyone who displays grace under pressure, and conducts their lives and business with integrity. I am not a political animal who eats, sleeps and breathes politics or voraciously consumes political news on a daily basis, nor do I believe in forcing my point of view on others. I generally vote for the person first, then their policies, and typically avoid anyone who is far right or far left. Truth and honesty is important, but I consider that to be a bonus because it is in very short supply these days, and perhaps always has.

So now that you know a little about me, I will get right to the point: there is no way in the world I will vote for the current occupant of the White House come November.

My reasons are not primarily political, because as much as I disagree with most our current policies, there might be one or two that I applaud (don’t ask).  No, my reasons are much more personal.

Quite frankly, I find our current President’s conduct and performance abhorrent. His personality and points of view check every negative box I own. I believe he is a lazy, uninformed, narcissistic buffoon who is more flash than substance, and is more interested in having people toe the line and kiss his ass than working as a team for what is best for the country. This is why he has surrounded himself with sycophants who are often ill-equipped to handle their assignments.

I believe he always has, and always will, be more interested in deepening the pockets of his various business interests at the expense of taxpayers instead what benefits everyday citizens. Why else would he refuse to release his tax returns? He doesn’t understand many of the difficulties and hardships we face, and certainly gives the impression that he doesn’t care to learn.

Unorganized and undisciplined, compromise and teamwork are words that are foreign to him. His uncontrolled ego can and, I believe, has been manipulated by foreign leaders, which makes us vulnerable.

The President sets the tone for the country, and the mood in this country sucks. And don’t blame the press or the opposing party because if the shoe was on the other foot, the press would still be on this like white on rice, and the Republicans in Congress would demonize him to a much greater extent than the Democrats have.  A large part of our collective mood stems from his combative nature, his demonization of anyone who criticizes him, and aversion of the truth.  I’m sorry, but I simply do not trust anyone who routinely lies and always blames anyone but himself for anything. News is fake if it is unflattering, and laws are a nuisance to be ignored it if suits his needs.

As a private businessman, he routinely screwed the little guy and ran various businesses into the ground. Bankruptcy is not a foreign concept to him, and I honestly believe that four more years of this administration will put us on the precipice of going over that cliff. The massive tax cut that was passed was misguided, benefited the financial elite, and made our debt problem exponentially worse. If this trend goes unabated, the day will come that makes what is currently happening to the stock markets, or the devastation of what occurred during the financial meltdown of 2008, seem like a picnic.

I didn’t vote for the guy in 2016, and woke up the morning after the election very fearful. I had never felt that way before, but after the shock of the result simmered a little, I was willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. What choice did we have? Unfortunately, the reality of what has followed only confirmed all the trepidations I held. In fact, the reality has exceeded what I most feared.

I could continue ad nauseam and list every single grievance, but you get the point. I don’t trust politicians, and the phrase “drain the swamp” certainly has it’s appeal. But our swamp is deeper and murkier than ever, and the one thing this experience has taught me is the value of a professional politician occupying the Oval Office, for our national security and world standing if nothing else.

He wants to operate as a monarch, which is simply incompatible with a democratic society. To give him credit, he has cowed his party into toeing the line, fearful his base of carnivores will eviscerate them in their primaries should they show any balls and criticize him. He operates like Michael Corleone, which he would probably take as a compliment.

The Democratic nomination will boil down to two distinctly different choices. I would have a hard time voting for one of those choices, but would hold my nose and do so if it came down to it, because I honestly would vote for Bevis or Butthead if that was the only alternative to what we have now. That is how deep my antipathy runs.

Speaking of Michael Corleone, one of his favorite phrases it that it was business, not personal. I’m going to turn that around by saying my feelings aren’t business. They are 100 percent personal, they are real, they are visceral, and I proudly own them.

Sorry if you don’t like it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Politics

The tick bites the person, sucked deep under the skin.

We often hear this word thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean? I looked it up the other day and wasn’t satisfied with the standard definition, so I broke the word down, conducted an out-of-the-box word search and learned that the word politics comes from the Greek word Poly, which means many, and tics, which are arachnids that feed of the blood of mammals and other creatures: in other words, many bloodsuckers. Yep, that sounds about right.

Before you start thinking this is going to be a diatribe on any specific person or political party, I’m sorry to disappoint you. You might see something like that as we draw closer to November 2020, but not today. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I am socially liberal but fiscally conservative, which puts me right smack in the middle of the political spectrum, as I presume most people are. I also vote for the candidate, not the party.

Our political system is broken, but judging from what I read about Great Britain and some of the other world news, I suspect we aren’t the only country that can say that. I think term limits are necessary because elections are more like auctions where the nomination goes to the highest bidder in terms of lobbying and endorsement money, and doesn’t come close to separating the wheat from the chaff.

And once a person is elected to office, is their priority to do what is right and best for their constituents?  Hah! No, the number one priority is to get re-elected, and to do that you need cash. Perhaps a candidate begins the process in good faith and with good intentions, but when the rubber hits the road, they become beholden to the special interests that fund their campaigns, got them elected in the first place, and put those needs above the people they are supposed to represent.

Politics, in theory, demands compromise, and putting the common good above everything else. Nobody gets everything they want, but gets what they can live with. Perhaps there was more of that before I came of age, but it certainly isn’t that way now.

Admittedly, the nature of politics is to obtain power to promote your party’s agenda. When political blood is spilled the sharks hone in on their target, particularly around election time hoping to rip them to shreds and kill their re-election chances.

But when did it become such a blood sport, where the only thing that is important is to kill or be killed, to say no to anything to opposition proposes, and not be willing to consider another point of view and to bastardize long-standing protocols and traditions (Mitch McConnell refusing to consider Obama’s Supreme Court nominee in 2016, for instance) in order to promote one’s own political agenda and ideology? When did it get so nasty and demeaning? And when, given some of the nonsense coming out of people like Devin Nunes, did we begin electing sycophants and buffoons?

Have I been asleep at the switch for that long? Sometimes I wonder because I thought Rudy Gulianni was the greatest thing since sliced bread after the nine-eleven attacks. I didn’t know the guy or his history as NYC’s mayor, but he certainly presented well as he galvanized the city and nation with his pluck and attitude in getting his city back on it’s feet. Now I think he’s a whacked-out loose cannon and bat-shit crazy.

What is going on now, and seems to have been escalating ever since Karl Rove was part of Dubya’s inner circle, is discouraging as hell. Nobody accomplishes anything,  gridlock ensues, nobody takes ownership. The other side is blamed, and our national debate devolves into name calling, outright lying, and deflecting attention away from real issues. It’s getting worse instead of better.  Some it of is so blatant that I often wonder if our politicians think the electorate is really that gullible and stupid. It’s insulting to think we are viewed as nothing more than faithful sheep who blindly buy a bill of goods without reservations or questions.

Perhaps it’s because our attention spans have shrunken to that of a gnat. Maybe it’s because in a social media and reality television-driven world, politics is nothing more than a form of entertainment for the masses, replete with heroes and villains, depending on which side of the aisle you reside in. Unfortunately, negativity sells. The issues get buried for the spectacle of the  the show. Maybe it’s because we have morphed into an it’s all about me society, and as long as our 401ks are healthy we don’t give a shit about unimportant things, like climate change.

I’m not bitter, just embarrassed and extremely worried about the sideshow we currently finds ourselves in. The level of hypocrisy is appalling, and so is the apparentl level of apathy in some circles. Or maybe it is a feeling of hopelessness.

I have tried to avoid getting caught up in the circus that is Washington DC by taking the ostrich approach, sticking my head in the sand to drown out the noise until next fall. But the drumbeat of discontent, the closed-mindedness, the unwillingness to consider  different points of view and outright hostility make that difficult.

If nothing else, I expect and truly hope that we have a massive voter turnout in 2020. If that occurs, I believe we can expect fundamental change. One would think that would be the only way the jackals in DC will get the message and (hopefully) act accordingly. But there is no guarantee of that either because when one party gets pimp-slapped the other often doesn’t learn from their misfortune, and resort to payback for all the crap they felt they had to endure under the previous administration and Congressional leadership. All that changes is one end of the political spectrum becomes a lot happier than they are now, and vise versa.

In order for this change to occur, the youth of our country need to vote in much larger numbers, and become more politically engaged. It’s their future after all, and they have a lot more at stake as far as that is concerned compared to someone in their sixties.

It’s going to be an interesting, infuriating, maddening and fascinating eleven months. When it is over, we will remain a fractured country, but hopefully have the infrastructure  in place that can being the long, hard task of healing our divisions rather than making them worse.

Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

 

 

 

 

Random Thoughts

THoughts

 

I’ve been staring at a screen that is as blank as my well of inspiration, so I’ve decided to fill this space with some thoughts that have flittered across my mind recently but don’t have enough meat to stand on their own.

If you have MS or another chronic illness, have you ever gotten to the point where you seriously wondered what would happen if you just stopped everything on the procedure and medication front? I have, except for the MMJ. I mean, I’ve been receiving monthly apheresis procedures for almost seven years now, have been getting intravenous meds for about ten, and have taken a host of pills ranging from Ampyra to Low Dose Naltrexone, but the progression continues. The IV meds and other procedures no longer produce a noticeable difference or relief. The costs aren’t insignificant either, so why bother continuing getting poked, prodded and stuck with needles? Because while all this is true, the progression has been slow and confined to one limb, and I’m afraid that if I abandon this course of treatment the progression will accelerate and I will join the ranks of the completely disabled sooner than later. It’s kind of like believing in Santa Claus, so I continue. But I know the day is coming, probably once I don’t need to work full time anymore, where I say fuck it and let the chips fall where they may.

Speaking of MMJ, my preferred method of consumption is vaping because I can control the dosage, and choose the amount of THC. Plus it’s cheaper than many of the other options. What I’m finding however is that with all the concern and, in some cases, hysteria, surrounding vaping and its potential health consequences, the vaping options have become very limited. I use to be able to literally choose from two to three dozen options. The last time I looked, it was down to three, and I am not talking dozens. It’s quite annoying!

And speaking of THC, one of the things I have noticed is that when I am under the influence, my thought process is very different. All of the emotion that is often in play when pondering the decisions we make is stripped away, and I view the pros and cons of each choice in a very detached and black and white manner, which is usually good because it brings clarity. Of course, if you have a particularly dicey situation, such as the fact that our house hasn’t sold and I could be starting down the barrel of a winter of financial discontent, it isn’t so good because there is no bullshitting or silver lining to rationalize over and soothe one’s sole, which makes the situation feel a lot worse than it is. Or does it?

If what has gone down in the White House is not impeachable, then nothing is. It’s becoming obvious that in order to impeach anyone, let alone remove any President from office, the key is not what they did, but whether one party controls both the House and Senate. After all, how do you explain the difference between Clinton getting impeached for lying about a blow job and our current resident’s transgressions.

All of which proves that we need term limits for our Senators and House members. If they don’t have to worry about getting reelected, perhaps they’d have the courage to stand up for their convictions.

I have no doubt that if the votes in the Senate on the impeachment issue were anonymous, the outcome would be very different than what we are going to get.

My favorite thing about winter is that I can swing into hibernation mode without any guilt. Since it gets dark so early, I have no reservations about calling it a night, getting into my sweats and hunkering down for the evening by seven.

Does anyone watch the news, network cable or otherwise anymore, or do most of us get our information off the web? It’s the latter for me, but it is getting harder to get news that isn’t biased one way or the other.

Am I in the minority thinking that the world is going to hell? I swear that I’ve read about shootings somewhere in the world every single day for a week, and that a week doesn’t go by without news of someone killing a handful or a mass of people somewhere. Is it anger, hate, isolation, desperation, fame seeking, or a combination of them all? Whatever the reason, it’s scary as hell.

I’ve been telling myself lately that as bad as things seem, it still hasn’t reached the level of discord that this country saw in 1968. I was only a kid back then and didn’t have a clue about what was really happening, but having seen some documentaries on what went down that year, I probably would have been more fearful of what was happening to this country had I been an adult than I am now, which is saying a lot. Still, can we survive another four years of the current regime?

Be that as it may, it feels like I am experiencing 1984, not 1968. George Orwell’s 1984, that is.

Professional hockey players are the toughest, best conditioned athletes in the world. After all, they are in a flat out sprint most of the time they are on the ice, travelling at top speeds of 30 MPH, surrounded by and crashing into opponents who are just as big and fast as they are. If I’m not mistaken, there are more concussions suffered in hockey than football. Plus, these guys are wielding sticks that have a habit tearing flesh, smashing teeth and breaking bones. They also willingly drop to the ice to prevent a screaming puck of hard rubber from reaching the goalie. They simply get stitched up, or visit the dentist office that is in most NHL clubhouses, and get back on the ice. I admire their skill and tenacity, but often think they are a bit insane.

Only ten weeks before pitchers and catchers report for spring training. Can’t wait.

If you had a chance to look into the future and see what was in store for you and your loved ones ten years from now, would you do it? Not me. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Next?

ACA

A Federal judge in Texas ruled last week that the entirety of the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional. This decision is obviously going to be appealed, to the conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, so it is a good bet that this decision will not be overturned. The fate of this law will therefore once again wind up in front of the Supreme Court, and with the Court’s two recent additions, it is anyone’s guess what the outcome will be.

It will take most of 2019 for this to shake out, but if I wasn’t fortunate enough have access to insurance through my large employer group, I would be extremely worried.

I don’t get it. Well, actually I do get it. Bitter partisan politics and their corresponding kill or be killed philosophies dictate agendas these days, regardless of the good or bad it does, let alone what it means to the political fortunes of the Democrats and Republicans in Washington. You’d think that with the thrashing Republicans received in the mid-terms elections, and the Trump Express, which most have enabled, seemingly coming off the rails, the last thing they want is to have this stink-bomb of a decision land in their lap. Do they really want to eliminate a law that, while flawed and in need of improvement, is generally supported by most citizens?

After all, how can you not like not being able to cover your kids until the age of 26, or of not having to worry about being denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. Even the Republicans, if you take what many of their candidates said during their recent election campaigns at face value, support these two items and have promised to “fight” to maintain them. So what happens if the Supreme Court concurs with the Texas court, and these safety nets vanish?

I’d like to believe that a good faith effort will be made when the next Congress resumes to make improvements to the law that makes it palatable for everyone, and remove any and all legal obstacles that could make the Court support the Texas decision. I mean, do the Republicans really want to be tarred and feathered as the party that ripped health insurance coverage away from millions of people during the 2020 election cycle, when a large segment of the seats they hold in the Senate are up for re-election? Do they want to be know as the party that essentially said tough titty to countless American living with pre-existing conditions? Do they want to hand all three branches of the government to the Democrats on a silver platter? How dumb would that be?

On the other hand, I hope the Democrats don’t play politics with this either, and insist on items that are non-starters for their counterparts, expressly for the purpose of being able to blame them two years from now for the demise of the law and the subsequent misery inflicted upon millions who no longer have access to healthcare.

I’d be in deep shit if my eligibility, or the premium cost I would be required to pay, were predicated on having a pre-existing condition. I pay enough out of pocket as it is every year. Knowing the industry like I do, I wouldn’t be able to afford taking care of myself because I’d be bankrupt in a short period of time. That is how costly my treatments are, and I don’t qualify for any public assistance or free care. I’d probably have to stop all of my current medications and treatments, and hope for the best. I guess it would be one way of finding out whether any of what I am currently doing really helps, but I would much rather have that be a decision I make rather than having it forced upon me. Who wouldn’t?

So it is going to be a very interesting and nerve-wracking 2019. Hopefully the issue doesn’t get sidetracked with all the investigations into the current administration that are sure to start once the Democrats take control of the House.

Perhaps I put too much faith in the reasonableness of our elected representatives. I mean, if the majority of voters like the protection the current law has to offer, and you know that healthcare will be a hot-button topic in 2020, doesn’t it make sense to do something proactive instead of snipe at and blame the other side?

I’m not going to use this space to outline all the things in the Affordable Care Act that can be improved. I think most people would agree it isn’t perfect, needs to be fixed and that not having this law would create headaches for both sides. Having said that, this can go one of two ways, assuming of course the law is struck down.

The first scenario is one where the political rancor becomes more entrenched (if you can believe that) as the administration is relentlessly investigated, and perhaps subject to impeachment proceedings. The House and Senate devote their time and energy to attacking or defending the administration. Republicans feel persecuted, circle the wagons and don’t give an inch on anything. Meanwhile, Trump, like Nero, fiddles while Washington burns. Who knows what emerges from the ashes?

The other scenario is a more practical one. This issue is a political hot potato that nobody wants to wear the black hat for, and there is enough common ground for both sides to work together and create something better. Mitch McConnell would rather eat his young than to give the Democrats anything that can be perceived as a victory, but there is too much at stake and the political fallout is potentially devastating, so doing nothing doesn’t make sense. Everyone has a vested interest to make this work, so something rare occurs: hands reach across the aisle, neither side gets everything they want but get what they can live with for the betterment of all.

This makes perfect sense, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of that going on these days. But still, the folks in Washington can’t be that dumb, can they?