One Fabulous Thing

…because each day has at least one.

03.21.2010 I’ll Just Go Ahead and Say It March 25, 2010

Filed under: Humanity,Politics — onefabulousthing @ 10:15 am

I’m really glad that Congress passed the Health Care Reform bill today.

A lot of people (or at least a very vocal segment of the population) look at these reforms as some sort of handout, and I have seen and heard a lot of references to people on welfare, people who don’t work for a living, and so on. What I think these people fail to realize is that our tax dollars already pay for all of those people to get health insurance. And what is wrong with that, exactly? Are they concerned that if people have to stay below a really low income level to continue to receive benefits, then they won’t have any incentive to go out and work?

I am concerned about that, and that’s why I’m glad the reform bill passed.

The other part of this whole “handout” meme is that it is somehow un-American to get any type of support from the government, and people should be more self-sufficient. Are they concerned that young adults getting out of college will have a hard time moving out and becoming independent? Well, they already do have a hard time becoming independent, and many parents support their offspring in various ways well into their 20s. Having to worry less about getting benefits and concentrating more on getting their careers established and getting on their feet will hopefully help that. Besides, their parents can always choose to kick them off the plan or have them contribute their share of the premium if they choose. That’s a parenting decision, not a government decision – but at least now thay have the option of extending good, affordable group plan benefits to people who might not otherwise get them.

Regarding self-sufficiency, the options that will become available after these reforms mean that it will be more realistic for people to start their own small businesses or work independently, without having to worry that they are leaving themselves and their loved ones without a safety net in the event of catastrophic illness or say, a pregnancy. What is more American than entrepeneurship? Do you think the Founding Fathers really expected that we should all end up working for large corporations or the government? (I will save my comments about how deliciously ironic it is that a lot of people who view any type of government involvement in healthcare as an abomination are people who have benefits that are paid for by taxpayer dollars, and who luuuurrrve Medicare…oh wait, I guess I just said it.)

Even if I believe the group of people who say that these health care changes will cost us one trillion dollars over the next ten years (and I don’t), I’d still rather have that money spent on keeping our citizens healthy, happy, and productive than on killing people in a nation that never seriously threatened our national security. I know that the comparison is not that facile, but I do feel compelled to point out that there seems to be some funny lines drawn about where “we” spend “our” money. Also, if my premiums go up slightly on my very, very good health insurance plan in order to ensure more sensible coverage and treatment for other people – I’m OK with that.

If you are one of the people who bristles at the idea of being “forced” to have health insurance coverage, then I am sorry. But if you choose not to cover yourself, you better have the money to pay when you do get sick or need care. Otherwise, kindly refrain from using my money to go to the emergency room in that inevitable circumstance.

Most people are one or two crappy twists of fate away from being in a situation where they or a loved one in need of medical care with no means to pay for appropriate treatment. I know it’s hard to think about, but it’s essential that you do before judging whether or not these reforms were needed. How do you get your health insurance? What happens if the policyholder loses their job? Do you know all of the things that are not covered under COBRA, or if you would even be eligible? How much money do you have in the bank? Enough to pay $100K for emergency open heart surgery, or $30K for the safe delivery of your child?

As the great Jerry Maguire once said, we live in a cynical, cynical world. I, myself can fall into that trap sometimes. But no one wants to see kids left without health coverage, or parents who are demoralized because they can’t work their families out of the poverty level for fear of losing their benefits. No one wants to see senior citizens choosing between food and their medicine. Everyone wants to see those strange characters who artificially tan themselves into skin cancer taxed for that particular brand of crazy. (Or is that just me?)

Is this a perfect solution that will meet everyone’s needs? No. That probably doesn’t exist. But this is heading us in the right direction, I think.

So, Fabulous Thing #80: Health care reform.

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02.19.2010 I Think The Word Is “Sarcasm” February 21, 2010

Filed under: Humor,Politics,Television — onefabulousthing @ 5:38 pm

I might not think that Family Guy is such a funny show if I didn’t live in Rhode Island. Probably, but maybe not. The local references coupled with the referential bits that speak exactly to my generation make it a very enjoyable 19 minutes to spend every week (thank you, DVR). My tastes in television shows tend to run more toward the dark and dramatic (Dexter, Weeds, Mad Men, Big Love, Criminal Minds) so the occasional comedy like 30 Rock, The Office, or Family Guy is a nice break from the heavy content of the other shows. Here’s the trick to keeping it light entertainment: I don’t take it seriously. I know it is in the spirit of irreverent comedy when Michael Scott says things that are not accepting of other people’s religions, when Jack Donaghy says something classist, or when any character on Family Guy says anything.

Some people have a difficult time with humor, or maybe they just have a really easy time overpersonalizing things because of their rampant narcissism. Potentially they just aren’t capable of looking past the superficial aspects of something to suss the true meaning. Not a comedic example, but I remember way back when the movie Natural Born Killers came out, there were a bunch of people all in an outrage about how it “glorified violence.” I know it’s hard work to actually put a few moments of critical thought into an opinion before you spew it all over the place, so here – let me help you sort it all out.

After the February 14th episode of Family Guy, when the character Chris dates a young woman with Down syndrome (who also happens to be opinionated, demanding, and not one to suffer fools), Sarah Palin took to Facebook to complain about the episode. Granted, the young woman in the episode did refer to Palin when asked what her parents did, saying “my mother’s the former governor of Alaska”; but Palin was taking umbrage on behalf of her son Trig, who has Down syndrome as well (in case you have been living under a rock and didn’t know that).

After I heard that, my eyes rolled so far back in my head I was afraid they wouldn’t come back. You see, the episode exactly did not make fun of people with Down syndrome. It did make fun of Sarah Palin, since she has made sure everyone knows that she is the mother of a child with Down syndrome, but how dare you reference she has a child with Down syndrome! Keep her family out of it, thankyouverymuch! However, I really have no agency to speak out about the ridiculousness of this perceived attack on her son.

Andrea Fay Friedman, the actress with Down syndrome who voiced the young woman on Family Guy does though. Here is Friedman’s interview with the New York Times on the subject, and here is an article where she is quoted as saying:

“I guess former Governor Palin does not have a sense of humor.” She added that in her family, “we think laughing is good,” and that she was raised by her parents “to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life.”

Ms. Friedman continued, “My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes.”

This is exactly, exactly the point. How insulting is it to Ms. Friedman to insinuate that she didn’t understand that she was being made fun of, or that the Palin family are the sole deciders of what is and is not appropriate when it comes to people with Down syndrome? I love it when people can see past perceived political correctness and actually speak to the truth of a matter.

So, Fabulous Thing #50: Andrea Fay Friedman. Rock on, lady.