Praying Away the Problem?

August 14, 2014

Senator Rand Paul wrote about the tragic and disturbing ongoing events in Ferguson, Missouri, for Time magazine.

Throughout the essay, he writes about the militarization of local police forces, decrying it as big government run amok. He’s right that this is a problem. But he’s wrong about the solution. At the end of the piece, Paul concludes, “Let us continue to pray for Michael Brown’s family, the people of Ferguson, police, and citizens alike.”

Nope. Don’t pray for change – you’re a senator. The quote is, “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” right? It isn’t, “Pray for the change you want to see in the world.” 

On a much more trivial level, this is like when Clive Davis complained that today’s musical theatre does not spawn pop hits. He blamed the musicals but he’s a record producer. Produce records. There are amazing songs in today’s musical theatre oeuvre; has he ever tried to make one of them a pop hit?

But I digress. Paul writes thoughtfully about what’s happening in Ferguson but he’s chickening out when it comes to doing something about it. You can’t pray away this problem. It takes action.

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(Scroll down for an update.)

There seems to be a slew of articles coming out this week, all of which focus on what’s right with Obamacare. Here are two I read with interest:

I also did my own investigation. I tried to (almost) sign up for health care using the new exchange. I live in New York, a state in which the lawmakers welcomed the ACA and did not do everything in their power to ensure its inefficacy. In fact, New York created its own health care website. If you go to healthcare.gov and indicate you’re a New Yorker, you’ll be redirected to New York’s site. Within half an hour (including the time it took me to set up an ID and answer the questionnaire), I was comparing plans and was just one click of a button away from buying health insurance.

Now, I don’t need to at this time. Currently, I have insurance through my employer, but I was curious to see the process. And the process worked when opposition governors weren’t thwarting roll out efforts.

I don’t understand why Republican governors—Republications being those who, traditionally (and they love their traditions), are champions of states’ rights—wouldn’t take this opportunity to say, “States can do this better, and here’s our working website to prove it.”

Yes, the federal website was a failure in its initial launch, and, in this day and age, that’s inexcusable. But what are the states doing to help citizens who want health insurance? Are they really playing politics with people’s health?

UPDATE:  “A New Low in Health Care Rhetoric,” by Rolling Stone contributing editor Matt Taibbi