Roger L. Simon

Healthcare, not race, needs the "teaching moment"

While Iranians battle for democracy in the streets and Hondurans try to hold back a wannabe Chavez, here in the US of A we’re going to have a “teaching moment” on race that I can’t believe anybody wants other than, perhaps, Barack Obama, Henry Lewis Gates and some pathetic nostalgics in the media who still think it’s 1972. Cambridge policeman Sgt. James Crowley – the furthest thing from a racist according to his African-American cop peers – is the poor sap forced into this beer drinking photo op. [Did they invite Reverend Wright?-ed. He’s a hard liquor guy.]

Of course the only thing this event can do is foment racism by stirring a relatively quiescent pot in a completely unnecessary manner. In that way it’s reactionary. But then it’s a “teaching moment.” The very concept has a reactionary tinge, especially when used to preserve an old-fashioned view of an already changed reality.

Of course, the squares at CNN see it differently. They evidently think we do have a big race problem in this country: Will White House beer help nation chill on race?

Yawn. Meanwhile, in the real world, the healthcare debate continues behind closed doors. No “teaching moments” or beer there, although we do learn that some, not all, Blue Dog Democrats have made a deal via Henry Waxman and are backing another as yet unseen healthcare bill with an allegedly lower cost. Other than that, we learn very little of what was said or what promises were made, what hospitals or clinics might be built in what Blue Dog’s district. Or perhaps that’s left unsaid and just understood.

Frankly, as of now, I am more impressed with the Dutch healthcare system, which is detailed on Pajamas Media by Leon Eijsman and Leon De Winter with an interview with De Winter here on PJTV (“Going Dutch”). It’s a third way that might have some merit, if someone will stop to think about some of this. Call it a “teaching moment.”