Sunday, November 8, 2009

Give 'em Hell Alabama!

As you can see I've dedicated my blog to University of Alabama football this season. It looks like Bama has a good chance of winning a national championship this year, the first time since 1992, which was my senior year. To say I was close to the team would be an understatement. They were like family. My roommate hung out with Kevin Lee and I briefly dated John Copeland. We hung out with all the players, not as groupies looking for husbands (because there were many of those) but as college students who enjoyed spending time together. I even went to church with the coach, Gene Stallings. For years I've been looking forward to seeing my Tide return to its former days of glory. And yes, I have been neglecting my blog duties, the main point of which is to make both you and me think.

For the past few months there have been lots of interesting things happening in the news. Outrage spread across the nation amongst conservatives when President Obama made a speech to school children and paranoid conservatives accused him of "indoctrination" without so much as even hearing his speech. Then when the Nobel Prize Committee awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize, even the faithful jumped ship to declare "the president hasn't done anything yet". Everyone fell in lock-step with the opinion that he had been given the prize not for what he has done, but for what he wants to accomplish. But I disagree. Even if that was their reason, I disagree with the concept that getting elected the first black president of the United States, a great nation with a history of slavery and discrimination, is "nothing".

For one day in November 2008 this country, and by consequence the entire world, faced the very real possibility of electing the wrong people to office, expanding the war in Iraq, and doing nothing to support the economy except wait for wealth to trickle down and for the economy to fix itself. But that didn't happen because the person with different ideas had the ability to make us see past his race and get himself elected. He took a nation, half of which would feel significantly more comfortable with someone who looks like their own fathers in office, and he did what no one else in history has been able to do: he changed their minds. And in doing so he created a paradigm shift for the human race. Now the leader of the free world finally, for the first time in history, actually looks like the rest of the world. Are you seriously telling me that this historical achievement isn't worth recognizing?

There is no such office as "President of the World" because if there was Obama would have won it. The Nobel Peace Prize is the next best thing and the closest the world can get to telling us they are, for the first time in eight years, willing to follow our leader. Is it about race? Yes and no. He didn't get elected because of his race, but he certainly could have lost the election and even world support because of it. Like it or not, he and his achievements are a symbol of our nation's progress and awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize was recognition for creating that progress. But, this blog is called "Mind Massage" so in the spirit of massaging your mind I'd like to offer a different view, one that one of my friends, Malika, offered me when I shared my opinion with her:

"Well, if that's the case then they needed to have created a new category".


Did I mention Malika used to be my boss?

Then last night the House of Representatives passed healthcare reform and now my conservative friends are livid. And what do I think about that? I think it's a step in the right direction and the main people who are opposing it will, just like the "Cash for Clunkers" program, be the main people who exploit it once it becomes law.

I think insurance companies need to be put in check and should be required to pay for care for "pre-existing conditions" if a person and their company have been paying their insurance premiums.

I think doctors and medical schools should put greater emphasis on identifying symptoms in their infancy and providing preventive care. And insurance benefits should pay for preventive care such as the use of vitamins and supplements to change what's going wrong inside a person's body, instead of waiting until an illness is chronic, a tumor has formed, a gland has stopped producing the right level of hormones, or an artery is clogged.

I think the FDA needs to stop allowing food sources, food processes and food additives to make us all sick, and pharmaceutical companies need to stop being allowed to sell us "cures" that cause even more and greater illnesses.

I think instead of rushing products to market both the FDA and the pharmaceutical companies need to do more research and take the time to create foods and cosmetics that are pure and healthy, and medicines that can actually make people better.

And finally, I think that if the blue dog Democrats didn't pass the bill that's a good sign there's something wrong with it. I heard Governor Haley Barber, a Mississippi Republican, say that both Democrats and Republicans could agree on 80% of the bill. So what if you think he's a redneck? It's their country too. And just because Republicans wouldn't work across party lines or even preserve basic constitutional rights when they were in power doesn't mean Democrats should continue the pattern now that they are in power. Democrats should take the high road. The Senate needs to do the work to trim away the 20% that the blue dogs were opposed to and make the bill a true bi-partisan effort. And if it doesn't fix the problems I listed above then it needs to be revamped until it does.

But enough about that. All of these things are going to have to continue to pass without any more commentary from me. For the time being my heart and my attention lie closer to home. In the coming weeks as we watch the Tide continue to roll, I'll be right here cheering "Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer, Give 'em Hell Alabama!"

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