Monday, March 22, 2010

"Heap Bad Medicine"? Fellow Citizens! Is U.S. National Health Care Good For You?

Yes It Has Happened, America, Despite Republican Opposition! A Significant Victory for President Obama and for all of America, I truly believe.

As the Washington Post headline states this morning, "Divided House passes health bill. The Republicans who stirred the tea" -- the latter being of course a reference to the Right Wing "Tea Party" movement that has so vocally opposed what they call "Obamacare" which they liken to what they see as Socialized medicine and a significant shift of the country to the Left, if not a total Government take-over. (To read the Post story click on the title above.)

To hear the triumphant President and his Democratic allies speak, this is a great day for America and a great step forward. Even the Republicans admit it is the most massive social reform since LBJ passed Medicare in 1965, so the day is certainly significant whatever your political stripe! It will enact significant changes for the American people, including covering some 39 million Americans who are not currently covered by health insurance. It will enable individuals to purchase affordable health insurance and allow small employers to offer health care for their employees.

Republicans claim that Obama is saddling the American citizenry with debt for decades to come, taking us to the brink, wrecking the country. Of course that might not be the case if the last Republican President, George W. Bush, had not led us into an ill-advised war in Iraq in Spring 2003 (all that long ago????) on apparently trumped up evidence that Saddam Hussein had developed Weapons of Mass Destruction that Coalition forces were subsequently unable to locate, right? Oh, dear....

Arriving at Union Station this morning under stormy skies, I did hear some ominous booming sounds. What were they? Just thunder, Or the Metro rumbling under Union Station, or planes taking off at Reagan National Airport across the Potomac. Don't ask me. (There was a massive thunderclap at Noon today!) Whatever the case, this is an important day in the history of our nation. A whole new day.

I don't necessarily buy the rightist political argument that the Democrats will lose heavily in the Fall because they backed this health care reform package that supposedly, as they insist, most Americans do not want. That's not correct. As I have written before, powerful moneyed forces have been working for decades to defeat health care reform and probably no more so than in the last 12 months. And no doubt many ordinary Americans have been confused by the size of the bill, some 1,200 pages as the Republicans are quick to point out, and by the long and arduous legislative process. Health care is an intricate and complex problem and hard to explain. Most Americans when they are told about the good things in the bill, such as that you cannot be dropped by your insurer, no matter what or that you cannot be denied by an insurance company for a pre-existing condition, are for the health care package, once it is properly explained to them.

Now that the Dems have found the message, now that they have triumphed over the forces of "No" and have rediscovered their voice to explain the good that health care reform will do for all Americans. America should be proud. If only the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) had lived to see this day! Teddy Kennedy's dream as a Senator was to bring about national health care. It is finally happening. I understand Sen. Kennedy's widow Vicki will be on Larry King on CNN tonight.

Federal Eagle

Above the portal of the old Federal office,
a bronze eagle is emblazoned, green with age.
Health care reform has passed in Congress,
despite partisan foes and vested interests.
Gray storm clouds broil over Washington,
a thunderclap splits the air at midday.
I walk up a hill past pink cherry trees as
rain spatters my cheeks. On a rooftop corner
a roosting hawk silently watches and preens.

Christopher T. George

Citizens, Will You Join Me in My Dream to Establish a National War of 1812 Museum in Washington, D.C.?

I have an idea for a National Museum of the War of 1812 and have identified a former US Department of Agriculture building at 300 12th Street SW close to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., that possibly could be the home for such a major museum and archives and research center dedicated to the War of 1812.

What attracted me to the building which is only a block from where I work in Washington, D.C., was the lovely Federal Eagle above the doorway, shown above. Around the doorway is the fasces design from Roman history, seen both on Baltimore's War of 1812 Battle Monument honoring the city's dead in the Battle of Baltimore of September 12-14, 1814, and on the old U.S. Morgan dime of the 1940's, I was taking photographs with my cell phone camera when I noticed the glass doors of the building were padlocked and the building unoccupied.

Frankly, I think such a project for a National Museum of the War of 1812 in our nation's capital might be more doable politically than the Bicentennial Commission that has stalled in Congress but that we advocates of the war still bring about -- not every state has a stake in the war, but the nation's capital was clearly at the center of events when the British captured Washington, D.C., the only attack on the U.S. capital by a foreign attacker before September 11, 2001. And what location could be more appropriate to tell the whole story of the War of 1812 than our nation's capital? This is a way to raise the visibility of the war and teach American citizens about the significance of a little understood war.

I have made a preliminary enquiry with the Government Accounting Office and have been told there are no plans at this time for the presently vacated facility, known as the Dept of Agriculture Annex or Cotton Building at 300 12th Street SW, a block south of the National Mall and the Smithsonian Castle, and within a mile or so, across the Mall, of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, where the newly restored Star-Spangled Banner that flew over Fort McHenry in September 1814 is housed. The same flag that inspired Georgetown lawyer and poet Francis Scott Key, detained on a truce ship in the Patapsco during the famous bombardment, to write a poem entitled "The Defense of Fort McHenry" soon to be renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner"!

I hope within the next several weeks to arrange with the GAO to tour the facility and see whether it in fact could be adapted for the purposes expressed above. Meanwhile there are photographs of the building in question as well as posts about the proposed museum on the Maryland Star-Spangled Banner 200 list at To get put on the list contact Kate Marks at - you might need a Yahoo account to join.

Of course, as with the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail that I helped initiate along with Mr. Robert Reyes, I realise the founding of such a National Museum of the War of 1812 will not be an easy task. Even so I would like to inform the list at this early stage of the attempt to initiate such a significant institution which will help inform the American public and overseas visitors of the importance of the War as we enter the Bicentennial celebration of those events 200 years ago.


Dennis Byrne... said...

I'm a freelance writer (Chicago Tribune op-ed columnist, etc.) and have completed a historical novel, Madness: The War of 1812. Your idea for a national museum is interesting. Could you provide more information?

Christopher T. George said...

Hello Mr Byrne

Thanks for your comments. I have emailed you. As noted on my blog, I do think that a National Museum of the War of 1812 located in Washington, D.C., near the National Mall will raise the profile of the war and help educate the public on the importance of the conflict as we enter the Bicentennial celebration. While a bill to establish a national Bicentennial commission has stalled in Congress, this might also be a way to regain the incentive. At this point, it would appear that the Canadians are ahead of the United States in plans to celebrate the war!

Dennis Byrne... said...

One of the most botched, controversial and certainly most important wars of the young republic, and yet it remains almost unnoticed. I don't understand our own reluctance to take note of it, but you're right about the Canadians. This time, they'll win, when it comes to celebrations.

Christopher T. George said...

Hi Dennis

The War of 1812 is vastly overshadowed by the American Revolution and especially by the Civil War. The Canadians had no comparable war to our Civil War so they are free to view the War of 1812 as their great patriotic war. You are right that American mistakes made during the war, including incidentally, the disgrace of allowing a foreign power to sack the nation's capital, have not helped the war's reputation. I would suggest though that it might also be that the war has lacked champions to educate the American people about the importance of the conflict. Maybe the time is right to rectify that!