20 September 2009

Flaming Zealots Unite! Let Us Carry the Day!

Recently someone I irked in "Facebook" called me a "flaming zealot". Now, I have been called a lot of things in my 69 years (soon to be 70) at this sock-hop we so lightly dismiss as life, but, a "flaming zealot", well, that was a first.

"Flaming zealot?" I'm familiar with being called a "flaming liberal", "flaming drama-queen" and back in the pre-Facebook days of message boards a "flaming wanker", and a "flaming flamer", and even a "flaming pain in the ass" by my old man one time, but a "flaming zealot"? never til now.

I wanted to make certain of what I was being called, so I looked it up and this is what I found:

  • a member of an ancient Jewish sect in Judea in the first century who fought to the death against the Romans and who killed or persecuted Jews who ...
  • partisan: a fervent and even militant proponent of something
Since I am of the gentile persuasion, well actually skeptical inquirer/seeker would be more to the point...never mind, not being Jewish the second definition seems to fit quite well. Not that I have anything against Jews, some of my best friends are..OK, OK, I'm just riffing and being a bit sarcastic, but...

Witness this: On November 19, 1945, then president, Harry Truman went before congress and called for "affordable, quality health care options for every American so that no one is left impoverished as a result catastrophic health care costs". OK, admittedly my math is weak, I was a liberal arts major, but, I think that was over half a century ago. And you know what? the same damned Republican campaign of lies, misinformation, fear-mongering and demagoguery, funded by Insurance Czars and Drug Oligarchs, that we are witnessing today, was led by blow-hard Republican Senator Taft of Ohio. "It's socialism", he blustered and the fight was lost.

You see, they had the zealots on their side. And the Democrats reasoned and tried bi-partisanship negotiation and got scraps and bits and pieces of legislation, which ultimately made the drug, insurance and doctors richer and older people and working families in deeper financial holes. The mess we're trying to undo today.

Witness this: More than one-hundred years ago labor leader, Samuel Gompers, said in response to a question; "What does Labor want? We want more schoolhouses and less jails; more books and less arsenals; more learning and less vice; more leisure and less greed; more justice and less revenge; in fact, more of the opportunities to cultivate our better natures, to make manhood more noble, womanhood more beautiful, and childhood more happy and bright.”

Over a century ago, and yet we wait!

Once again the zealots on the other side carried the day with their goons, gun thugs and venal politicians all financed by big business and soulless corporations.

If you wish to delude yourself that somehow, some way these people have changed, found empathy or in any way care about the present or futures of older people or working families that is your choice. But, for me, the lessons are clear. The thugs of Harlan County were not beaten by coal miners calming down and talking rationally. Nor were the police and armed goons of the days of lock-outs in Detroit overcome by collegial discussion.

I do not see one whit of difference in the gun-toting idiots and "Sambo-sign" bearing morons at recent "town hall" meetings across this nation--they are the same goons and gun-thugs that have always been there and it is the same faceless money-men inflaming and financing them. Nothing changes!

My zealotry is born of history, of stoop labor, of grave-yard shifts in dangerous mines beneath the earth, of long hours on factory assembly lines, of grange meetings, union halls, picket lines, and a fervent desire that one day every person had an opportunity to live a productive life of fairness, decency, respect, and security without regard to their origin, gender, station in life, race, creed or sexual preference.

So, yeah, in this battle for decent, affordable, quality health care for every American, I expect that I am a "Flaming Zealot". And, yep, I am damned sick and tired of waiting, I just don't have that much longer!

Thanks for the compliment!

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