Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A Very Special 'Special Comment' ...

I know that many people do not like Keith Olbermann.

I am not one of them. I am very fond of Mr. Olbermann. Keith. He wouldn't mind my calling him Keith.

Earlier this week, a friend of mine pronounced him "bitter."

But I don't think Keith is bitter. I think he is the rational, real, modern-day Howard Beale.

He's mad as hell and he's not going to take it anymore. But, compared to Howard Beale, he looks much better in a suit.

Tonight, Keith devoted the entire hour of his show to a Special Comment about health care.

Typically, Special Comments are only a few minutes long, at the end of a broadcast, often directed at an individual.

Tonight's Special Comment, though, was dedicated to the proposition that, in the end, we're all fighting because we're afraid of death, and that those who don't understand what's being said are fearful that their coverage may be curtailed or cut.

We fear change, he says. We fear death. And "change" to an issue that is dedicated to staving off "death" will logically lead to compounded fear, fear that is understandable. Especially fear that has been fueled by a barrage of calculated misinformation.

(You can watch a bit of tonight's Special Comment here.)

It was a cerebral yet impassioned hour. He spoke of his father's ongoing health crisis. He was able to maintain his composure through it all. I could not have been so composed.

He would like to have proposed a strike against the insurance companies, but he recognizes that such an act would further empower the very entities against which we rail.

And so he proposed something else. Something I think is a master stroke, genius.

His plan, in a nutshell, is this: He wants to offer weekly free health clinics in the capital cities of the states represented by the six key Democrats who are presently blocking reform.

Such clinics have been offered recently in Texas and California. The turnouts have been staggering.

The people who attend these clinics are not statistics, numbers in a study. They are men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters. They are citizens of the United States of America. And they cannot afford health care.

Tonight, Keith did not go into the details of his plan. Details will be forthcoming. Soon.

But in the meantime, I have a prediction:

I predict that Keith will contribute $1 million to this effort. One million dollars. And I predict that he will encourage his viewers to each contribute at least $1. One dollar. Some, of course, will not give any, but others, many others, will give much more.

Establishing these free clinics in these cities will enable people who need health care to benefit from the kindness of strangers and the kindness of medical professionals who are willing to donate their time.

But more importantly, in the grander scheme of this debate, the people who seek health care from these free clinics will, by their presence, demonstrate to the senators of those states that their constituencies are real people in real need.

And once these senators see the throngs of people who will turn out, in the United States of America, to wait in lines for their chances to see a doctor because they can not afford to see one otherwise, once these senators see that what we, as a country, are debating is literally a matter of life and death, I dare them to then look away.

Update, October 8, 2009: Tonight, Keith announced that he will contribute $50,000 toward the realization of the free health clinics he proposed last night. While his contribution is not my lofty notion of $1 million, $50,000 is certainly nothing at which to sneeze. Keith did not make a direct request of his viewers to contribute, but if you'd like to support this effort, click here.

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