Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Out of Many

There's a pair of notable dates I missed earlier this week. I'll start with belated best wishes to Chief Pudge on his birthday to start the month of September (yeah, I know, 'which started yesterday'). I wanted you to get warmed up first. Chief is a force of nature and, luckily for all of us, a force for good in the village of Taftville on behalf of everyone living and working in the city of Norwich. I must point out that I've heard from some if you were as tall as you are old, my friend, you'd be be able to dunk a basketball without jumping.

The other item I should have passed along Monday is courtesy of Dr. Robert (I'm not sure it's ethical to just do first names but it's sooo California, and I've always wanted to meet Brian Wilson).
It's the Montville Rally and Health Care Town Hall Forum with Congressman Joe Courtney which starts tonight at 5:30 PM at Montville High School, followed by the (actual) health care forum at 6:30.

We've spent months, at this stage in the game shouting at and over one another, so it's probably too late for me to realistically hope we can have a dialogue instead of dueling monologues at Max Vol (maximum volume) either before, during or after this session. At the end of the day, as someone who has health care but tries to NOT lose sight of the tens of millions who do not, I'm not alone when I point out that we can all agree 'something' must be done-but the devil is, as always, in the detail. I'm not sure being unhappy about how the current discussions are shaking out in terms of coverage, choice and payment makes anyone a black-hearted ba$tard, and certainly no more than advocating to develop a humane and fair system to assure coverage makes someone a socialist (or worse).

I fear that the 'health care debate' which isn't what we're having ('you scream, then I scream; then we both go home and have ice cream' Sorry, mom), is the tip of a larger, longer and more uncivil iceberg on how we don't agree to disagree anymore in the Land of Unlimited Possibilities. I've done some reading on the decades of divisiveness in this country leading to The War Between the States (I've never understood using the term 'The Civil War' when it was anything but) and lived through the turbulence of "Vietnam" where the Gulf of Tonkin came to symbolize a greater one, between generations and, sadly, within them as well.

There were political leaders and contemporary historians in those eras who wondered if our nation could, or even should, survive, and so it's not surprising to read and hear these same misgivings today. I'd hope the answer is now as it was then (and at so many other times as well), a resounding and unanimous 'yes!' because dissent and disagreement is just as much a part of our story as Breed's Hill, Gettysburg, Iwo Jima and so many other battles.

Any ideal worth dying for is, logically, worth living for and we can all agree that together we are much smarter than each of us alone. Our motto, found on the Great Seal is part of our national DNA and, in its way, is what puts the US in USA, "E Pluribus Unum." In recent times, it seems to be abbreviated as STFU, which is not only insulting but reduces our voices to just so much noise and hardens our hearts as it steels our resolve to be unkind to one another and to all with whom we disagree. Too many from around the world, in the last two and half centuries, have sacrified everything they owned and were to get to these shores so that their children, our neighbors, could be a part of this amazingly wonderful idea that began as a spark and grew to a flame that still lights the world.

So if you're going to the health care forum, wherever your Montville happens to be tonight, tomorrow or next month-try to not lose sight that at the end of every day, no matter how many of us there are and how many different viewpoints we all bring to bear, it's always the same: out of many, one. Each of us not only makes a difference, we are the difference.
-bill kenny

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