Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Party of No, No, No, I Really Mean No!

It's been four months since my last entry, and a lot has happened since then. As my readers know, I have been a proponent of health care reform. I am both excited and disappointed by what we have achieved. Will there be reform? Yes, to some degree. For that I am grateful. The part of I find disappointing is the glaring lack of a public option to offer real competition to the insurance companies. I would even like to see Dennis Kucinich's plan to offer Medicare to all Americans from the cradle to the grave. We're the only "free" country in the world that doesn't offer its citizens universal health care.

Somehow we've been led to believe that universal health care is our enemy. It's perfectly acceptable to use our tax dollars to fight wars overseas and to fatten the pockets of oil companies. But guarantee our people the right to universal health care? Heaven forbid! Socialism! The end of the world as we know it!

The health care debate gave rise to the so-called "Tea Party" movement. Funded largely through Dick Armey's "Freedomworks," which is connected to high profile special interests, the Tea Party nevertheless claims to be a "grassroots" movement. By and large, their shrill cries have taken civility out of the public discourse. They shout down intelligent debate, and they hurl terms such as "Socialist" at their foes. I believe much of their vitriol against the President of the United States is thinly-veiled racism. It's totally unacceptable to use racial slurs, so instead they use the "socialist" and "Muslim" smears against President Obama. This plays right into the fears of the ignorant. Lies breed more lies, fear breeds hatred and even violence.

In the wake of the recent healthcare vote, Democratic legislators have been harassed and threatened. Office windows have been broken. Blogs have sprung up revealing the private home addresses of legislators, urging harassment and violence. One site keeps track of broken windows. I don't know about you, but I find this eerily reminiscent of Germany's "Night of Broken Glass" as the Nazis rose to power. Mob mentality brings out the worst in people, and this is what the harsh rhetoric of talking heads and far right wingers have awakened. You just can't keep making statements like, "Obamacare is a Socialist totalitarian takeover of healthcare," without expecting some form of backlash. Okay, that's not entirely clear. Backlash is to be expected, but I was brought up to believe our revolutions happened at the ballot box. Since when is it "American" to advocate violence against our elected officials? Are we not "One Nation" with opposing beliefs? Or are we so polarized that we have nothing but hatred for those who don't see things our way? If so, then America doesn't need enemies; America need only heed the immortal words of Pogo, the cartoon gator: "I have seen the enemy, and he is us!"

So if you don't like our leaders, speak your mind on election day. But don't be swayed by the poison that will soon pollute our airwaves now that corporations have unlimited spending power in elections. Right now, the Party of No, No, No, I Really Mean No! seems to have nothing constructive to build upon, so this will be a campaign of fear, lies, and slander of historic proportions.

Now let's Connect the Dots.

The only way out of what the Supreme Court forced upon us by unleashing corporate spending is to carve out a constitutional amendment to end it. But can this happen between now and election season? Not likely. Don't let that stop you from hounding your leaders about it. And please, don't buy into the fear. Reason can win.