Essays, Stories, Adventures, Dreams
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
The Healthcare Lifeboat
When does a chronicle belong in the Ancestors portfolio? Where does a story about Education belong? Who should be the general audience for a personal legacy tale about Growing Up Years? Obvious humor belongs in the Humor portfolio and a strange coincidence may find itself consigned to the Coincidence portfolio without objections, but some chronicles remain unassigned because they might logically fall into several categories. Writers of legacy stories have to decide where to assign their missives so that they will attract the audience for which they were intended.
Librarians know that modern cataloging procedures have specific indicators that form the framework of the worldwide standard Dewey Decimal System. If ones knows the system well enough, it saves time when searching the stacks of major libraries--on foot. Of course, the card catalog in the main lobby also contains other information about published works found within the walls of the library, to aid those who are armed with only fragmented or limited knowledge about a particular author, subject, or field of literature. The point is, if you know what you are looking for and you know where to look, a diligent search will usually turn up what is available. When the search is for Moby Dick, getting your hands on a copy of Moby Dick is not much of a problem. But when getting a definitive answer to something ethereal like the factual basis for a Supreme Being, you can expect to find a wide range of reference materials but none of which perfectly complements the tenets of any singular belief system. Such is the nature of the implicit intellectual dialogue that has persisted ever since libraries were organized to invite learning through sharing their treasures. They collect and catalog information, we read and decide on the merits of that collective information.
When it comes to modern politics, information collection and sharing is far easier to accomplish, and dissemination can be worldwide in a matter of minutes. That makes the importance of physical conduits stand out as essential to getting any manner of talking points to take hold among those on the receiving end of the process. Knowing what is going on is fundamental, but if the talking points being proffered are themselves faulty, ill-conceived, or inadequately considered, the loyal supporters will be misinformed and the body of natural political opponents are burdened with the need to counter the messages in the talking points. As dreadful and as polarizing as the discussion of politics has become in recent decades, it is still necessary to separate out fact from fiction. In politics today, there are far too many specious policies, proposals, and fantasies that are being foisted upon the electorate without the benefit of reasonable analysis. One side pronounces and strongly promotes one point of view, and the other side may or may not counter with an opposing point of view. The whole process produces confusion. Although there should be no confusion about the operational results of those policies, some politicians are counting on confusion as part of the strategy in gaining adherents. Only an informed electorate is in a position to distinguish fact from fiction. And it usually takes looking at both sides of the coin.
This chronicle began as an attempt to address the national health care system from a personal point of view and then using a bit of humor to justify putting the story in the Humor portfolio. The problem is, the subject of healthcare is not really a laughing matter; and I would not like to see the story itself directed to and then deposited only in the Humor portfolio. The use of tags helps to categorize the subject matter, and as many people are aware, the use of tags as useful identifiers helps in the cross-referencing of similar materials. Tags as valuable as sub-title identifiers, as it were, but they are not foolproof. Thus, even choosing the appropriate tags to use has its uncertainties.
Late-night comics often make fun of pronouncements coming out of Washington, D.C. If viewers laugh at the comedians’ take on certain statements made by politicians of any stripe, it may be because so many of the things said are so laughable. Hence the propensity to employ humor as a way to get people’s attention, and by extension the legitimacy of a Humor category for archiving my own Chronicles of a Footloose Forester. It would be a shame if a tag as sub-title identity aid did not lead to other appropriate categories, or anywhere at all. Without further waffling, the perceived scenario, as parody, gets back to the message in the title of this chronicle.
The Footloose Forester, afloat in a dream about what a national healthcare program is all about, sees it this way:
ObamaCare is a leaky boat that was shoddily constructed by a combination of skilled and unskilled workers who individually or collectively decided that it would float and furthermore, it would keep the passengers afloat without the fear of drowning. The Democrats, by and large, were responsible for building and funding it in the hopes that the holes in the bottom of the boat could be plugged.
Then along came the Republicans who threatened to scuttle ObamaCare and replace it with something terrific. For years they boasted that they had something better, but never came forth with the details of superior boatbuilding acumen. Fast forward to 2017 and the current state of affairs. The ObamaCare boat is still afloat but under imminent threat of being torpedoed by a Republican-controlled Congress and a so-called president who does not understand health care issues to the extent of convincing anybody that his proposals would hold water (pun definitely intended). What is laughable about the current situation is: he just lately proposed to repeal ObamaCare now and replace it later. Scuttle the boat with millions of passengers in it now, and build another healthcare lifeboat later. In the meantime, many of the erstwhile passengers will drown, some will try to tread water, others will try to swim to shore, and still others will avoid climbing into the next boat, yet to be designed, built or given its maiden voyage.
Most readers of these chronicles know by now that there are frequent updates because the situation in politics begs for currently relevant information. Thus, it may be informative to add to the laughable aspects of our American healthcare situation, as seen through the eyes of a would-be humorist. Now that the GOP-controlled Senate voted not to let the ObamaCare lifeboat sink without the prospects of having another boat at anchor, waiting to take on the passengers in danger of drowning, they took the next step. That step was a vote to allow the ObamaCare lifeboat to remain afloat, but to toss some of the passengers overboard. That vote was also defeated. Next comes a presumed vote to save everybody by crafting another rescue plan. That plan is presently in the works, but nobody is saying much about it. All we know, we lowly members of the proletariat, is that it may not involve a bigger and better boat. Reliable sources tell me that there is NO BOAT, just promises of rescue. Finally, our Commander-in-Chief who looks after the health and welfare of his fellow Americans recently pronounced, "Let ObamaCare implode." That should settle matters. A calculated and deliberate way to scuttle the ObamaCare lifeboat without the need for contingency plans. Why didn't Congress think of that before?
The unpresidented (sic.) proposals of our so-called president are so laughable that Footloose Forester was inclined to include this chronicle in his Humor portfolio. But he hopes that nobody mistakes a comedic parody as a trifling attempt to make light of a serious national priority for most Americans.