Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Third Largest State

The key to subtraction is often an abstraction. In times of high-stress political theater, it's useful to the cause to render someone who disagrees with you as "your opponent" rather than "Mister" or "Ms." Someone with a Name and Face.

We've become quite adept at it in terms of reportage about all manner of violence, be it domestic, terrorism or war. We speak about victims of opioid and other substance abuse as if we were counting cans of peas at the local market.

The emotional distance we create is, I suppose, useful in allowing us to sleep at night. We do not and cannot hear the cries and pleas of the homeless, the hungry or the hopeless when we have decided to consider them 'economically disadvantaged' and whatever other multi-syllabic descriptive phrases we invent to insulate us from the world in which we live (and that we also created).

This list of many of our United States may seem nonsensical as you try to sort out the order. It's not.

Here we go: Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia,  Washington,  Arizona, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Indiana, Missouri, Maryland, Wisconsin, Colorado, Minnesota, South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky, Oregon, Oklahoma, Connecticut, Puerto Rico, Iowa, Utah, Mississippi, Arkansas, Nevada, Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho,  Hawaii,  New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska,  District of Columbia, Vermont, and Wyoming.

The states are listed in descending order of population; I owed you that. My family lives in one of these states. My mom is in Florida. I have brothers and sisters in another and cousins, and nieces and nephews galore scattered throughout. You probably do as well. Each of them has fewer than twenty-four million, 24,000,000, people. It's a big number when you type it out.

Twenty-four million people would be the population of the third largest state in our country, behind California and Texas, the two states not on my list. As it is, twenty-four million people are also the number of Americans projected to no longer have health insurance after the Affordable Care Act is "repealed and replaced" by Republican Party Congressional Representatives.

Their effort would remove"essential services" such as maternity leave, prescription medication, hospital stays, and all addiction therapy services and insurance providers to exclude those with pre-conditions. In other words, welcome to 2008, before the Affordable Care Act. And despite all of those subtractions, the GOP Freedom Caucus wanted more cuts. Here's another list:

I'm supposed to believe the GOP bill, Trumpcare, is what passes for progress in the shining city on the hill as Peg Noonan wrote for Ronald Reagan in whose name some truly horrible social policies have been endorsed and embraced by the present-day GOP.  Don't be fooled by the failure of political will on the part of a con man turned President and a back-bencher masquerading as a Speaker of the House. The catastrophe that was avoided Friday was only momentarily avoided. These bastards will be back over and over and over again. They can't help it, it's what they do. The party of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt has become an abomination unrecognizable even to themselves.
-bill kenny

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