Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Opinion

December 3, 2013

Lion and the Lamb: Celebrating good news

CROSSVILLE — There's been a lot of bad news in the media recently: floods, droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes, gun violence, healthcare system problems, airplane, train, and bus crashes, assaults on girls and women, high unemployment, house foreclosures—the list could go on and on. But there are two examples of good news worth celebrating these days.

As we've mentioned before, one of the biggest downsides of the Affordable Care Act is its reliance on the private insurance industry. One of its best provisions, however, allows states to set up a single-payer system. Vermont has now become the first state to choose this option and is now in the process of starting a single-payer system. Its slogan is "Everybody in, nobody out."

Vermont's new system will be funded through Medicare, Medicaid, federal money from the ACA given to Vermont, and a small increase in taxes. For healthcare recipients, there will be no more premiums, deductibles, co-pays, or hospital bills—they will be able to use their money in other ways. Employers will be able to provide better wages or invest more in their infrastructure. Hospitals and healthcare providers will now be nonprofit and be able to save significantly in administrative costs.

As Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has stated, "The quickest route toward a national health care program will be when individual states go forward and demonstrate that universal and nonprofit health care works, and that it is the cost-effective and moral thing to do."

Another example of good news took place on November 26 when Pope Francis issued an 84-page "apostolic exhortation" to the Catholic Church. In it he called on politicians to guarantee "dignified work, education, and healthcare" to their citizens and to be more concerned about the poor and inequality. He criticized current economic systems that are profoundly unequal.

In the document he stated "Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. As long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world's problems or, for that matter, to any problems."

In criticizing the "idolatry of money" and unfettered capitalism as "a new tyranny," he spoke to all of us in the United States in the way we have merged our politics, economics, and religion into our perception of the world and our priorities in it. He called for action "beyond a simple welfare mentality." "I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, the lives of the poor."

How can we find and elect more "disturbed" politicians who will help eliminate our nation's growing inequality so that everyone is included in its benefits?

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  • LION AND THE LAMB: Four ways to demonstrate opposition

    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

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  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

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    April 14, 2014

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    April 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Do we really believe in democracy?

    The recent Supreme Court decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, is in a long line of debates about power in a democracy. Should power be in the hands of all the citizens or should it be in hands of those who have greater wealth and social position?

    April 8, 2014

  • We the People: Public education or business opportunity?

    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

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