Thursday, June 29, 2017

Lost in Space

Ed Markey made the following comment on CNN, “Vision without funding is a hallucination.” As Markey is a senator from Massachusetts the remark obviously refers to healthcare and government programs in general. But it’s a rather pregnant idea since it relates to the disjuncture between what people claim they want out of life and what they're willing to do to get there. Translating this concept to a territory that might be closer to home, it’s a little like people who dream of wanting to be writers and artists and aren’t willing to do the work to attain their desires. That was the problem faced by the alcoholic character of Don Birnam (Ray Milland) in Billy Wilder’s The Lost Weekend (1948). Birnam dreams of glory as he drinks, but is too soused to produce anything. Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” was the result of an opium infused dream, but in art as well as politics, this isn’t usually the case. Everyone from President Trump on down claims they want the best for Americans. However, how can cutting 834 billion dollars from Medicaid over ten years while covering 22 million less people be considered a way of providing the best possible care for the majority of the population? The Republicans originally wanted to call for a vote on their proposal before the July 4th holiday, but it’s really the kind of pipedream O'Neill's barroom fixtures might have entertained as they waited for Hickey to arrive in The Iceman Cometh.

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