1. It’s Tuesday, September 19, 2017.
2. It’s Roger Angell’s 97th birthday. He’s one of the few people who’d appreciate the fact that I’m seeing two Mets games – team current record, 65-85 – in the next eight days. From better days.
3. Talk like a pirate day is idiotic.
4. Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s “The Vietnam War” on PBS is really good.
I’ve always been a fan of Burns’ work. I was wary of this one. Jazz and the Civil War and the Roosevelts are all great subjects. They weren’t as visceral to me, as much a part of my march through history, as the war in Vietnam.
So far, two of the 10 episodes have aired, taking the history through the assassination of President Kennedy in November 1963. Just before that, earlier in November, was the coup and murder of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother.
The documentary – it’s weird to call it that, since it’s so long and episodic – is likely to revisit the divisions in this country that Vietnam created. The anti-war protests. The “love it for leave it” backlash on the right. The constant lie that the war was going well and would be over soon.
In some ways, Vietnam’s worst side effect was a second American civil war, a division of the nation so sharp that, in some ways, it never recovered.
Liberals were always perceived as anti-American and loathing of the military, in part because they protested what the military did in the name of the United States.
Conservatives were seen as willing to embrace scoundrels, thugs and worse if only they wrap themselves in the American flag and sing the National Anthem, respectfully.
The only time the country seemed to come together after that was on September 12, 2001, the day after real thugs, nihilists who slandered the religion they wrapped themselves in, attacked all of us. And, thanks to a subsequent war on a country that didn’t do anything to us, that unity didn’t last.
So now we’re here.
Two sides whose animus is almost tangible. One that sees a changing world and seeks to embrace it, and I’m proudly part of that side. Another that fears the change and seeks to overturn it.
We’re now caught up in a third American civil war. How this one ends will determine the future of our children and their heirs. So “The Vietnam War” is informative and, perhaps, a guide.
5. I attended a wonderful garlic festival in Mystic, Conn., this weekend, and should have picked up some cloves for the Democrats in Congress to use.
Because the vampires on the other side have not yet given up their quest to strip millions of Americans of their health care.
The latest effort, sponsored by Republican imbecile senators Lindsay Graham and Bill Cassidy, is really close to success. It just needs 50 votes, since another piece of cheese, Mike Pence, can cast the tiebreaker.
Cassidy-Graham would replace the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, by giving states more flexibility in determining who gets coverage.
By that measure, states could allow insurers to refuse coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. They could allow insurers to charge unpayable premiums for those with pre-existing conditions.
Because it rewards the states that did not use Medicaid to help its residents pay for health care coverage, and punishes those that did, it essentially eliminates the aid that Medicaid provided people under the Affordable Care Act.
Democrats are fighting. But the base is a little tired. It’s been fighting this since the spring, and it thought this battle was over.
However, being vampires, the Republicans weren’t finished with this. Gutting Obamacare is their holy grail, and they worship at the church of Obama-hating with every waking hour.
What they don’t respect is what’s best for the American people.
We can only hope reason prevails. Because the only reason these Republicans want to do this is to show they can. There’s no benefit for the country, and that’s a criminal shame.