Wednesday, September 2, 2009

HCR: iii. The Vulcan Option.

I'm not going to have time to write a doozy of a post anytime soon. Instead, I will attack this Twitter style.

I call this idea the "Vulcan Option", because it comes from a scene in the movie Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. (If you know nothing about Star Trek, skip the next two paragraphs.) The story at this point in the movie was that a Klingon moon had exploded, destroying most of the atmosphere of the Klingon homeworld. The Federation was the only government capable or willing to assist them--if not, billions of Klingons would die. The current chancellor of the Klingon Empire, a man named Gorkon, agreed with this assessment and was willing to negotiate something. The Federation government agreed to send the crew of the Enterprise as an envoy.

Captain Kirk was puzzled by this choice, as he was on record as utterly loathing Klingons. They had, after all, killed his only child three movies ago. Spock, in his usual characteristic of wry humor post "resurrection", simply responded, "An old Vulcan proverb, Captain: Only Nixon could go to China."

(OK, anti-Trekkers, you can start reading again.)

"Only Nixon could go to China." This aphorism refers to the political reality that only an ardent anticommunist could suggest normalizing relations with a communist nation like China without having his motives questioned. The first US President meeting that standard was Nixon. Therefore, only he could "go to China."

Again we are faced with an "only Nixon" moment. This has a measure of additional irony, as it was originally President Nixon who suggested that something be done about the lack of access to health care. The recently late Senator Ted Kennedy took an all-or-nothing approach to Nixon's proposal, essentially causing it to die an ugly death. I am quite sure Sen. Kennedy carried that regret to the grave, as it set up the current horrid situation.

But we're back there again. Republicans have an excellent opportunity to put their ideological stupidity aside and suggest a radical approach such as universal single-payer. The rationale? IT'S GOOD FOR BUSINESS. Businesses spend TRILLIONS on health care expenses for their employees--even retired ones! This truth has wrecked untold businesses, the latest prominent one being General Motors. If businesses could share this risk and expense publicly, all sorts of great benefits would accrue to them.

Gosh, why didn't the Republicans think of this? Well, gee, it's such a great idea, I don't fucking know. Perhaps the ideological bent of "poor people are lazy assholes who deserve to starve and die of treatable illnesses" outweighs their uncritical pro-business ideological bent.

This is Plank I, by the way, of my Theory of Republicanism: Republicans hate the weak and vulnerable, unless they are a fetus. But more on that later.

But you know modern Republicans look evil and generally lost when they make RICHARD FUCKING NIXON look reasonable.

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