Monday, December 21, 2009

Bringing Home A Winner

It's hard to believe that Obama might have accomplished two things this weekend he set out to do, albeit far below his hopes:
The great German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said "from chaos comes order".

It is difficult to foresee the order that may result from the chaos of the Copenhagen climate change conference (COP15), but as the dust settles, traces of a path forward are becoming visible.

It's true. This is not the deal liberals have waited for ever since Kyoto was smacked down by the Senate way back in the 1990s. It's not even the agreement we need to see. But it's a start.

Think about it: there has never been a meeting like this. Included in the accord are both developing and developed nations. The meeting showed that everyone, including China, India and the US, are on board with global climate change and how to correct it. Green economies will now be implemented worldwide.

No, no targets were established. There are no steps to verify that a nation is complying. But still, it's a beginning.

Just as the other victory, hollow as it may be, is:
"This country, the greatest and richest the world has ever seen, is the only advanced nation on earth where dying for a lack of health insurance is even possible," [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid said. "

The bill would extend health insurance coverage to 30 million Americans who now lack it, and bar insurance companies from practices such as denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions. Most Americans would be required to purchase health insurance for the first time, with subsidies provided to those who cannot afford it.

It's not perfect. It may not even be particularly good. But it's a start, and now we can hammer out the final bill in conference.

It is embarassing that the bill includes no provision for a public option (unlike the House bill, to which it will have to be reconciled) and that much of this is about political theatre as opposed to passing a real bill.

But here's the thing: in over one hundred years, four attempts have been made to bring the United States into the 20th Century in terms of healthcare for its citizenry.

It may be from the dark ages of the early 20th Century, but this bill finally does that, and it cracks open a door that cannot be shut again.

For that, we should be grateful.