Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Your health care dollar at work

July 23, 2009

Today I received an invitation from Shire (makers of Adderall and Vyvanse) to a dinner and discussion on August 5, 2009, two weeks from today. They sent it FedEx priority overnight and I had to interrupt my work to sign for it.

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The Meaning of “is” is… or “Who is Barack Obama?”

October 14, 2008

“Barack Obama is different” means:

Either: We live in a community where everyone knows everyone else or, at least, we used to. Our neighbor was the banker, and the doctor lived down the street. At coffee after church the teacher told us how proud she was of our daughter. The local farmers shopped at “Our Own Hardware.” If we bought a side of beef from them, we could keep it in their locker. We played bridge with the mayor the second Tuesday of the month. When we went fishin’ we didn’t think about locking the house or car. We don’t know why things aren’t that way anymore. Barack Obama comes from a different culture, even a different country. Didn’t his father go back there? How could he understand us? He went to some highfalutin’ school where they teach how to take advantage of the rest of us. He tried to get poor black people to riot. He can’t possibly understand us. Besides, he’s black.

Or: We belong to a culture in which most people have had pretty good lives. We’ve gone to Europe, some even to Asia or Africa. Some of what’s there is better than what’s here. We don’t, or we try not to, judge people by the color of their skin or their gender or any other “accidental attribute.” We’ve tried to send our kids to “highfalutin'” schools. We try to do good, even if only by contributing to our public broadcasting station. We’ve worked hard to provide a better life for our kids, just as our parents did for us. We have tried to elect government officials who would keep us safe, improve our economic wellbeing and enhance our country’s standing abroad. Something has gone very badly wrong. Barack Obama is different, thank God. He seems to understand our ideals, and he is able to articulate them without sounding weak or naïve. He also seems to realize something better than we do. Even our economic well being would be better if we lived up to those ideals.

The meaning of a word is a function of how it relates to all the other words used to express the lived experience of those who use them. Same word plus different experience equals different meanings.

Like a fly hitting a spider web, one word can activate an entire culture’s deepest hopes and fears, whether anyone else thinks it should or shouldn’t.

Safety First

September 6, 2008

To paraphrase someone interviewed on CNN: If we have a secure country, our economy will be fine.

When I was a child, my mother and I prayed this prayer when she tucked me in: “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray thee, Lord, my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray thee, Lord, my soul to take.”

Yes, Virginia, there is a boogieman.

Republicans know how to tap into our fear of what goes bump in the night. They know how to reassure us when we are afraid. Don’t worry, dear, daddy is taking care of business.

Democrats assume we all passed Econ in high school.

May God save our country.

JFK to Barack: Carry On

August 26, 2008

Once upon a time we built highways across our country, we built schools and bridges and we went to the moon. Now we can barely maintain what we have.

Is the politics of hope unreasonable? Is it naive? Do we dare to hope, to dream, to strive to transform the world to how it should be? The “greatest generation” won WWII.  Bill Gates founded Microsoft. The Chinese hosted the Olympics. I made it through medical school.

Do we dare not to hope? Should we settle for fear and greed? Should we let this great country devolve into bread, circuses and folly?

JFK, regardless of everything else, called upon the best parts of ourselves. His name represents daring to be open to undreamed possibilities which we, as a country, working together, could realize.

I have never believed that the human impulse represented but not realized by “JFK” would die and never be reborn. The generation which allowed itself to feel that impulse must not die without at least tying to rekindle it.

I am happy to ignore or to “bracket” my cynicism and let the candidacy of Barack Obama be the spark.