Health talks grow stagnant

As the east coast enters a new Ice Age, and Michiganders contemplate migrating south for the winter, the debate over health care reform continues. But with all the snow they might be meeting in a coffee shop or the Post Office, because they’re always open.

The attempt at reform has reached a new level of bipartisanship, at least in theory. President Obama is going to have a health care summit and has invited GOP leaders to attend, in order to better find a bipartisan response to the health care debate.

However, according to the Associated Press, “Republican legislative leaders are raising fresh doubts about any bipartisan agreement with President Barack Obama on health care unless he agrees to shelve bills already passed by Democrats in the House and Senate — a move the White House has rejected.”

Oh boy, more lack of progress. However, there is hope. President Obama is trying to work towards bipartisanship in creating jobs.

“There should be some areas where we can agree and we can get some things done, even as we have vigorous debates on some of those issues that we don’t agree on,” Obama said as he met in the White House’s Cabinet Room with the top House and Senate leaders of both parties, plus numerous aides. It was the first time in two months that GOP leaders met with him in the White House.

Here there seems to be a more positive response from the GOP.

This is good news. Lack of bipartisanship has been stalling progress for months, in a seemingly worse fashion than the standard lack of it during the past two hundred years.

Part of this basis for bipartisanship is “Republicans’ and Obama’s shared interests in nuclear power, clean coal technology, offshore drilling and the completion of languishing trade deals.”

Okay, here there may be a problem. But that’s for the ecologists to bicker over, I’m just here to persuade.

That both political parties are willing to recognize there could be a basis for bipartisan agreement is possibly one of the most significant political events since the Magna Carta. But if both sides are willing to find and see common ground, then from such a foundation can begin the process of change, reform, and progress.

At this point I’d settle for progress. Actually, I’d probably settle for the idea of progress, which is almost what this is.

As my wording has suggested, there may not be a lot of actual bipartisanship involved in the future. But what has happened is the acknowledgement of it, and that is an important step forward. By recognizing something, defining it, and acknowledging it, we bring it that much closer to reality.

The journey to bipartisanship may be just a dream in the swirling sands of false hope, but as long as both parties are willing to say “eh, sure, they have a point,” then the hope for a better America continues. Is this view optimistic, maybe; overly positive, probably; doomed to fail, I hope not.


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