Tuesday, August 11, 2009

democracy in action

A hell of a lot of anger is permeating America right now. We're polarized between two separate and distinct ideologies like I've never seen before, with apparently very little common ground to be found.

During the past few weeks (Congressional summer recess), citizens' emotions have run especially high surrounding the issue of the government's proposed health care bill. Many are panicked by it, as the bill was released and circulated with little explanation of some clearly alarming new proposals. It's understandable that such a sweeping change would heighten concerns, as is the case with any landmark change.

One of the results has been town hall-formatted meetings popping up around the country. These gatherings have billed themselves as opportunities for individuals to ask questions, express concerns or appreciations, and to voice their thoughts and opinions. Somewhere along the line, although these gatherings have been non-violent yet admittedly heated, concerned citizens participating in these forums have been labeled as members of an "angry mob", and accused of being part of a vast, right-wing conspiracy.

What a bunch of double-talk hogwash.

When Hilary Clinton went off on a particularly angry tirade while campaigning last year, she stated that she was tired of being labeled unpatriotic for questioning the Bush administration. She then received a boisterous and positive response from the crowd.

Yesterday however, the House's top two Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called opponents of the bill who are speaking out in protest "simply un-American." Are you kidding me?! Even the White House is distancing itself from these extreme comments made by Pelosi.

What is going on? Why the double-standard? Many of my democrat acquaintances have been telling me for years that protests and speaking one's mind is the most American of all actions. So why does that only apply to certain groups and certain causes?

We have to make some changes in our health care system -- its broken, and few people are arguing that point. But many citizens are FEARFUL and want answers to their questions ... and that's VERY American.

I just spent about an hour watching a live town hall meeting in Pennsylvania hosted by Senator Arlen Specter. He allowed 30 questions, and 29 of them were opposed to the current proposals. These people weren't angry mob members -- quite the contrary. They were average citizens who posed heart-felt questions and concerns, based on personal experiences.

Props to Senator Specter for staying and facing his constituency (many politicians are not), as well as for admitting that he has yet to read the bill (how the HELL that's even acceptable is another subject for another day). We need to see so much more of this.

And bravo, America. Don't give up on this country and what our founders created, according to the Constitution. Somewhere on some level, no matter how grand or small, I have to believe that our voices are being heard.

1 comment:

Beverly said...

My Congressman, Chet Edwards, won't meet with us in person in a Town Hall format. Nope. He wants to do it ... get this ... ON THE PHONE.

His constituents aren't too happy and held a peaceful rally yesterday as a result:


Congressman Edwards' response is not only cowardly, it's uncalled for. Last time I checked, these guys and gals worked for us.

As an aside, this may make you chuckle (I love Steven Crowder) ... it's from last weekend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LeaRJfvJokU