Taking Delight in Other People’s Misfortunte

A U.S. District Court judge in Texas ruled yesterday that the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare) is unconstitutional. President Trump is delighted.

Absent a stay, this means no one will have the right to secure medical insurance. If you have a preexisting condition, you can be denied coverage. In fact, you can be denied coverage for any reason. It’s entirely up to the insurance companies. This is what delights President Trump. You see, he really doesn’t give a damn about people. He’s obsessed with negating anything President Obama did or touched. Because it’s all about him. That’s Trump’s world: extreme narcissism.

That’s not to say the ACA is unconstitutional. One thing is certain: that decision won’t be made by a single trial judge in Texas. It will be made by an appellate court. And that will take time. So it’s likely (although not certain) the Texas judge’s order will be stayed.

In any case, what’s clear is we elected a man who has done absolutely nothing to ensure all Americans have access to affordable health care. He’s talked a lot about it. But it’s been all talk. The reality is, he’s not lifted a finger on his small hands to improve or change anything.

Medicines are still unaffordable for many. And insurance and pharmaceutical companies still are raking in huge profits off the backs of hard working Americans. Or, worse yet, withholding medicines and life-saving care in certain instances.

Why we put up with this situation is beyond me. And why we elect a president who doesn’t give a damn about anything but himself is also beyond me.

But at least Mr. Trump is happy. Happy that company profits can once again take precedence over people’s health and well-being.

What a perverted place the world can be.

Luck, Extra Days and Unnecessary Roadblocks

I haven’t been feeling too altruistic lately. Which isn’t a good thing. There is no substitute for giving. I suspect you know what I mean.

We can give in different ways. Our money. Time. Effort. Lives. The list is endless. I’ve previously discussed my problem with the money route. Simply put, most charities and other nonprofits are poor stewards of their money and other resources. I’m tired of the waste and, in many cases, the subterfuge. At this point in my life, I’m more interested in effective altruism than simply throwing more money at nonprofits.

So, lately, I’ve been thinking about what I can do besides writing a check. I tried volunteering at a local hospital but found myself doing things that really didn’t need to be done. Or that could (and should) be done by employees. I don’t want to be taking a paying job from anyone. Or doing makeshift work.

One good thing that came out of my hospital volunteer work, however, was an awareness of a particular dire need. I came into contact with families of patients who were receiving organ transplants. Sometimes from deceased donors. Sometimes from living donors. (A kidney from a living donor is far better. It’s more likely to work and last a lot longer.) Continue reading

It’s Hard To Stop Laughing On Days Like This

There will be bad days. But this is one of the good ones.

When President Obama was in office, the Congressional Republicans voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) so may times I lost track. Of course, it was all for show. They knew the president would never sign their act into law. It was a political gimmick. That’s all.

And then came along the big wind bag. He promised a simple, affordable replacement to the ACA. I knew it was a lot of hot air. I also believed he really didn’t care about the ACA or any replacement for the act. In fact, the evidence is pretty compelling that the only thing he cares about is himself. And perhaps his family.

In any case, all that hot air ran smack into arctic air today. The blowhard failed. Miserably. As did the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. They were unable to agree on a replacement to the ACA. They were unable to pass any bill. And they most certainly failed to fulfill their campaign promise — to repeal the ACA.

That could change in time of course. But for now, we (well, some of us) get to laugh at the circus, headed by the chief clown himself.

So, Vera, here is the larger point: it’s much easier to criticize than it is to actually accomplish anything.

In fact, it’s really easy to snipe. And poke holes. And ridicule. And demonize. And take hollow actions that entail no actual consequences. Or risks. And to huff and puff. And to make empty promises. But to actually do something productive, that’s a much harder lift.

What we’ve witnessed isn’t restricted to the world of politics. You’ll encounter it in the nonpolitical world too. People with loud voices but no skin in the game. And no ability to solve problems and make the world — or their company, other organization, or town — a better place.

Republicans are the teachers today. But it could just as easily have been Democrats. Or anyone else for that matter. No matter who the teacher, there is a lesson to be learned in all of this.

Try to be someone who gets things done and contributes, not merely someone who spouts off. If you do, you may not be able to get elected to the presidency or Congress, but I think you’ll be happier with yourself.