Surely, We Are Better Than This…

Everyone is covering the House’s passage of the historic health care reform. We have communicated our thoughts in this blog and on our show. We respect you all have your own opinions, and we look forward to sharing them with you and learning from you.

Near the end of this process, a member of the Tea Party movement called legendary Civil Rights Activist and current Congressman James Clyburn of South Carolina a “nigg—“. Another Democratic Congressman was spat on, and Rep. Barney Frank was called a “faggot” as he walked through the halls of Congress.

This in a year where Rep. Joe Wilson had his own moment of history, shouting “you lie” in the House Chamber, interrupting the President of the United States while he was speaking.

Following the health care vote, a Republican Member of Congress shouted “baby killer” on the floor of the House while Rep. Bart Stupak, a champion of the pro-life movement, was speaking.

We love a good argument. But this is getting out of hand. On every side. The ends don’t justify the means – if the goal is to pass a bill or to sink it – whether it’s health care, cap and trade, the jobs bill – there are ways to do this without escalating rhetoric to the point where we stand on the brink of violence. The Rhetoric of Division makes good politics, but it’s bad for our country; in fact, it is an insidious form of cancer. There is a difference between hateful, destructive rhetoric (there are reasons you’re not allowed to yell “fire” in a theater) and the coveted right to free speech.  We don’t have to get into a Constitutional argument in defense of those who would seek to bring us down if our political leaders could some how find a better way to lift us up.

— Jeff Kimball

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6 responses to “Surely, We Are Better Than This…

  1. Hey Jeff, just saw this. I head things from Republican leaders like “Armageddon” in trying to defeat the bill.

    I scratch my head as to why Republicans don’t just attack the specifics of a bill instead of using fear and scare.

    There are legitimate concerns. Maybe, just maybe, it would have given them more of the middle ground.

  2. Speaking as someone that couldn’t get insurance on my own – because I had (past tense) cancer, I actually think in the long run this will be a good thing. I still can’t get long-term disability because I had (past tense) cancer.

    It will certainly be rocky for a while but Medicare and Soc Sec turned out to be a good thing too. Yes I know the argument that they are bankrupting the country – but so aren’t pork barrel projects, foreign aid and other massive expensditures that don’t benefit the majority of AMerican citizens.

    I really wish the Republicans would stop acting like children. They have been pouting since they lost the election. Rather than say no to everything why not see how they can help make this a better country. They need to keep in mind that when they did have control of Congress, deficits spun out of control and they turned their cheek while Wall Street raped us. So they caused the mess with a laissez faire attitude that they still seem to want to take.

    I really wish the Democrats would stop throwing money at symptoms while problems go unsolved. So how do we rein in spiraling health care costs? This bill doesn’t address that.

    How do we balance the budget so that we aren’t dependent on China for financing while we spend tax dollars on countries that don’t like us? (agree with McCain on this one.)

    I am sick of both parties.

    And I am sick of the talking head ‘experts’ that have stoked fear, racism, and hatred as they fracture the United States for their own personal gain – sound familiar?

  3. Was it Max Webber who said something along the lines of “people, when in groups, act like blockheads?”

    On a serious note, I found the TEA party types to actually not be conservatives – The rhetoric, if you listen to it, is actually a bit extremist, although clothed in antiquarian, prerevolutionary colonial America (or the parts they like, like don’t tread on me).

    Not suprised some racism came out in places. Personally I think it is dumb of the Republicans to embrace this strand of unhealthy extremism. They got away with the southern strategy but this could prove more toxic.

    Otherwise, I think everyone came at this wrong, but maybe because the issues are too complex. The Republicans should have offered a better alternative (more regulation of insurance companies, a little ant-tort, more encouragement of competition in the markets, etc.).

    The Democrats? Well I think this final point in a NY Times editorial said it best: “focus on telling voters what the insurance companies won’t be doing to you any more.”

    C’est la vie – We are not governed by our higher angels.

  4. I’ve stopped counting how many times I have heard -“I’m sick of both parties”. Who will be our white knight?

    Michael Bloomberg?
    Colin Powell?
    Evan Bayh?

    A third party needs 2 ingredients, that just so happen to have been the same ingredients as our first revolution.

    1. A group of extremely wealthy, smart, benevolent individuals. (Bill Gates? Warren Buffett?)
    2. A group of mainstream politicians or business leaders who decide that it is time for radical change and break from the status quo. (listed above?)

    Partisanship is exhausting, costly, and as Jeff noted above, ugly..

  5. I agree, Jeff. But just a bit of a correction. Rep. Neugebauer, was apparently not yelling “baby killer” at Stupak, as though Stupak himself was a “baby killer.” Neugebauer indicated that he actually said “it’s a baby killer” – in reference to the bill itself and not Stupak – which is not nearly as bad, imo. He has also since apologized to Stupak.

    His outburst may have been unacceptable (and he has since apologized), but I think it’s important to not unintentionally exaggerate the problem and raise tensions further. (And I know you would agree with that…no slam intended at all.)

    The Huffington Post covered this:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/21/baby-killer-yelled-at-bart-stupak_n_507718.html

    On the other hand, as a person firmly opposed to abortion, I also tried to give Stupak the benefit of the doubt and defended his decision to vote for this bill as a product of political naivete. Stupak has publicly portrayed himself as a legitimate, staunch, pro-life Democrat. After seeing this video of a small meeting he led, though, it is clear that he was willing to sacrifice on abortion all along.

    For someone who favors abortion rights, of course, this political calculation will accrue to Stupak’s benefit. But for someone who firmly opposes abortion rights, it will certainly not.

    I do hope that civility is maintained (and/or restored). But even more, I hope that politicians will evidence integrity of conviction on such fundamental issues.

  6. By the way – upon a re-read, I noticed that you didn’t technically write that someone directly called Stupak a “baby killer.” But the way it’s written tends to give that impression. Also, apparently, the rep. didn’t just say “baby killer” but “it’s a baby killer” which is clearer. After listening to the video, there does seem to be something said immediately before “baby killer”, so I think it’s legit.

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