I think maybe it’s time to grow up. It’s time to bring in some adult supervision. The petty school age shenanigans going on in Washington are exactly what drove the Republicans from power in the last two elections… and what drove the Democrats from power before that. It goes beyond the handful of less than discreet elected officials caught in their indiscretions – on both sides of the aisle. That sort of behavior is to be expected from a small minority of any population and congress is no exception. But the juvenile antics of a sore loser gets to be tiring and the only place left to rebel is at the ballot box. I think we are fed up. I know I am.
Lets start with some misconceptions first: The passage of the healthcare reform package was perfectly legal and perfectly American. We have a democratic republic – that means that the “people” don’t decide which laws are passed and which are not, our representatives do. We decide who they are. And if I am not mistaken, they (enough of them to be successful) promised to do just that - and they passed a law that addresses our healthcare system. There is absolutely nothing un-American about anything in the process. If anything, it was ultra-American; too much like it’s always done… with all the unnecessary complexity that comes with two parties that cannot play nice together. Healthcare reform was a major campaign pledge, and this time it was a promise that was actually kept.
But there’s more. Because the Republicans have lost the argument with any appeal to credibility (ethos) and the reasoning used is politically biased at best (logos), they have resorted to the only appeal they have left – an appeal to our emotions (pathos). This stuff is 2,500 years old and every bit as valid today as it was in Aristotle’s time. And arguably the most powerful appeal to emotion rests in what is arguably the most powerful emotion – hate. So now we have the mischaracterizations: Obama is a socialist? A communist? Godless? A Muslim? Not born in the United States? I left the racial epithets out, but there's more than a little of that, too. And, of course, he is out to get us… to control every minutia of our lives – and it starts with an attempt to fix a system that is famously, notoriously and seriously broken. True, it remains to be seen how effective the plan will be, but if it is only marginally successful, it will be a success. Healthcare is already “socialized.” We all pay for those who cannot afford their own care and we do it in the most expensive way – at the emergency room. Death panels? Please.
The most radical are intentionally (and effectively) propagating fear, and that invariably turns to hate. And the less radical are cosigning it. In a comment regarding threats and acts of violence against supporters of the healthcare reform package, House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the acts are “unacceptable.” Really? Unacceptable? How about reprehensible? How about illegal? How about, dare I say, un-American? And Sara Palin has the Democrats' districts that she views as vulnerable in the mid-term elections marked on a map with gun sight cross hairs, urging her followers to “take aim.” Real big-girl talk.
What blows my mind is not so much what passes for day-in and day-out behavior for so many of our elected public servants (and not just because it’s the Republicans who are taking their ball and going home this time - it’s a not very long walk down memory lane to where the Democrats were acting like rotten kids, too), it’s that so many people have bought into the outrageous hyperbole, either by acquiescence or by actually jumping on board the bandwagon. Some actually seem to enjoy it. Many are currently receiving “socialized” (meaning we pay for it) government aid – healthcare and otherwise – while they are arguing against the same for others. The hypocrisy is palpable. Our government is operating just as it is supposed to and it has for a very long time – in good times and in bad, regardless of the party in power. This is still the greatest, most prosperous and freest nation on Earth and no single president has the power to destroy it.
Just ask Nixon.