At 7:15 on Christmas Eve the Health Bill was passed by the U.S. Senate 60-39. It's name includes patient protection and affordable health care. Much has been written and will be written about the contents and concessions. Much is yet to be done as the House and Senate bills are reconciled and integrated. Which provisions will prevail?
But as I watched the vote this morning, just concluded at 6:15 a.m. my time, I note some seemingly small things. Certainly it's understandable that quite a few senators left the floor immediately following their particular vote...airplane travel will be difficult given the weather right outside my own window here in Dubuque. (Yes, we are starting out on the road this morning, too, to head towards the congregation my husband is serving as interim half way across the state.) But notable was the fact that it was the losing side who mostly left the floor.
And I also noted with some consternation that it seemed hard to find a channel that kept focused on the vote all the way through. (The vote took only 15 minutes, hardly a lot of time.) Even C-Span announced a few votes in that we would need to turn to C-Span 2 to see the rest of the vote while they cut away to take calls from viewers. MSNBC was doing a pretty good job letting us actually see our Senate at work, but when the reporter covering the vote was asked to clarify what was happening (two senators were yet out of the room and the vote was being held for a moment to make sure everyone could vote), she acknowledged that she wasn't paying attention because she was doing an interview with the Today show which would air shortly.
[In the time it takes to write this, I note Sen. Al Franken from snowy Minnesota, is lingering 20 more minutes, taking time to cross the aisle and talk personally to many Republican senators. And 92-year-old Senator Bird is still there, in his wheel-chair.)
Can we not stay in the room? Can we not pay attention? Is our attention span so short? Are we so distracted, even when something, such as informing the public, is our direct responsibility? Just things to ponder as all of us are called to careful, thoughtful, collaborative deliberation in the communal decision making in our daily lives.
It's Christmas Eve. We pray for safe travel as we watch and wait. Where will we see the Christ Child coming this very day?