After spending the last two days discussing legislative issues in Washington, it seems somehow appropriate that my political education would continue on my flight home, courtesy of the Woman Sitting to My Left. Tonight's lesson aboard United Flight #167 went something like this:
Woman to My Left: I see you're reading Barack Obama's book, "The Audacity of Hope."
Me: Yes, I'm trying to learn more about him since he's running for President.
Woman to My Left: That sounds like a good idea. What do you think so far?
Me: I'm not sure. He seems likeable and less controversial than Hillary Clinton but I'm still not sure.
Woman to My Left: My Son-in-Law is Obama's Press Secretary. He's working 18-hour days.
Me: What a coincidence. He must really like him. To be honest, I'm sort of jaded when it comes to politics ... it's not one of my favorite topics. I find it hard to trust our politicians lately.
Woman to My Left: I understand your feelings. I'm in Congress. Did you know that President Bush vetoed a plan yesterday that would offer healthcare to uninsured children? He vetoes healthcare for kids, while spending all this money on the War.
Me: You're a Congresswoman ... great! Maybe you can help me. Am I wrong in thinking something has to be done to fix our healthcare system? I keep hearing about how insurance companies are denying claims to very sick people and that people are losing their health coverage just when they need it most. Is this a real problem or just a headline?
Woman to My Left: It's a real problem and you're right to worry. Fortunately, each of the Democratic candidates has a healthcare proposal. Any of their proposals would work better than what we have now. What we really need is a Single-Payer System. But you don't have to decide who to support now ... there's still plenty of time for you to continue researching.
And so, based on the Good Congresswoman's advice, I plan to continue reading up on and listening to the various Presidential candidates even though "politics" tends to put a knot in my stomach. As for Barack Obama's book, it's the literary equivalent of a plate of Brussels Sprouts: Nutritious but Bland ...!