No, I didn’t leave an ‘a’ off the headline. After consulting the Oxford English Dictionary online, I was reminded that “agenda” is the plural of “agend”; examples below:
1. gen. in pl. Things to be done; matters of practice, as distinguished from matters of belief.
1753 E. Chambers Cycl. Suppl. Suppl. s.v., Divines speak of the agenda of a christian, meaning the things to be practised by way of contradistinction from credenda or the things to be believed.
1860 M. F. Maury Physical Geogr. Sea i. §67 Notwithstanding all that has been done‥ there still remain many agenda.
Of course, no one speaks of having one more “agend” to do or to complete or to discuss. People instead speak or write of agenda-items (clumsy compared to agend, but so it goes), or items, or topics.
I submit to you, for your inspection (as Rod Serling sometimes said before a Twilight Zone episode), the notion that Congressional politicians have but but one agenda: to keep the spectacle of political “battle” going (and a tip of the cap to Murray Edelman here).
Thus the GOPers in the House of Reptiles will vote to “repeal” “Obamacare.” It will be a show-vote (duh) because they don’t have the numbers to overturn a veto, and the Senate is controlled by Demmers. Moreover, one “repeals” a single Act, like the Volstead Act. Health-care reform is made of many parts, and of course it’s not “Obamacare.” In a way, this latter coinage, a weary rip-off of “Hillarycare,” which I assume passed at some point across the greasy palms of Frank Luntz, is the unkindest cut of all to U.S. citizens. For even if one despises what the President, his staff, and House Demmers did regarding health-care, the crisis is real, not invented by Obama or anyone else.
This is real-life stuff. Millions of Americans don’t have reasonable access to basic health-care, therefore don’t go to the doctor when they should, and therefore often die or become chronically, unemployably ill. One concrete example: There is a breast-screening center in Tacoma, Washington, that will provide screening for those who can’t afford it. So far so good (if we pass over the fact that such “free” screening should be available for all female citizens). The hitch: to get the screening, you have to have a doctor, or formal access to one, in case there is a “finding.” It used to be that Pierce County and/or the State could fund this kind of basic health-care: an avenue to a doctor. Now that funding is in jeopardy, and the breast-screening center, which is ready and able to offer the screening, can’t do it unless this doctor-thing is fixed for some of the women. In the meantime, the percentages suggest that some of the women will die.
Multiply and vary this example across the nation, across genders, ages, conditions, and you get a sense of the crisis. The health-care reform was the result of compromise, so many are dissatisfied, but as Randall Patrick McMurphy said, after failing to throw a large object through a window so as to escape the hell of a rotten mental hospital (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), “at least I tried.” At least the President and House Demmers tried, with a drooling Senate stumbling after.
The Republicans don’t have and will never have a plan. The best they could do, under Bush II, was a lame, unfunded medication-plan. So now their agend is to pretend to repeal “Obamacare,” try not to fund certain parts of it–including a provision for long-term care. Ever had a friend or family member who needed long-term care? I have. It ain’t pretty. I can easily imagine how much more hellish the situation would be if you simply couldn’t get access to it.
Of course, Demmers have their own symbolic votes, their sad propagandistic unhidden agend. Probably Bernie Sanders’ filibuster qualifies, although at least while he was talking, he was occasionally making arguments (remember that custom?), even if his larger agend was to preach to the choir.
One wishes one could say, “Knock it off” to these well coiffed Congresspersons, the way one does to kids when they’re misbehaving.
Several things prevent this swift directive. Congresspersons are far worse than mischievous kids. Corporations and interest-groups chiefly funded by corporations set the agenda, not citizens, nor even Congresspersons, who hire former lobbyists to set the agenda. And finally: the propaganda works: Edelman and Ellul have told us why, but not enough of us (not their fault).
So we have to put up with (in this case), the boozy, smoke-throated, weepy Boehner crooning melodies from The Agend, not to be confused with Pink Floyd’s The Wall. “Here’s one off my new CD, a little ditty I like to call ‘Repeal Obamacare,’ ladies and gentlemen. I just flew in from Ohio, and . . ..”
Mr., Mrs., and Ms. Congresspersons, tear down that Agend.