I was under the impression that we were living in a civil democracy. The health care debate has made me question that.
Set aside, for a second, whatever you think about the content of the health care bill and look at process.
There are have been all kinds of protests for and against this thing. But the level of naked hatred for our leaders is astounding. The teaparty movement is often little more that the basic militia movement with a few signs of Obama painted to look like Hitler. Pretty amazing, but not all that surprising. The fringe on the other side did the same kinds of things when Bush was in office. Inappropriate, yes. New, no.
What concerns me more is the recent escalation at various levels. On one hand it goes straight to the top. It has now become commonplace for the president of the United States of America to have hecklers from the U.S. congress. During Obama’s first State of the Union Representative Joe Wilson shouted ‘you lie’. From there the flood gates have seemed to open up a disregard for order in both the House and the Senate. The final debate on the Health Care Bill was almost a free-for-all as Representative Bart Stupack spoke, with multiple people shouting ‘baby killer’.
Two things. 1) In my adult life I don’t remember hearing of any congressman, republican or democrat, doing anything like that…until the current group of republicans. 2) If our leaders in congress are incapable of having a civil, vigorous debate about the issues, without demonizing their fellow Americans, is it any surprise that thousands of people have ramped up the rhetoric of hate?
Which brings me to my other area of concern; violence in the wake of the Health Care vote. Right around the Health Care vote the offices of numerous congressman were attacked. Many had bricks thrown through their offices and some have even had a few bullets go through their windows. This same kind of thing has happened all throughout the country, even here in Wichita, Kansas. The Democratic offices had an anti-Obama brick lobbed through their front window this past weekend. Read the story here. On top of this violence the rhetoric about civil war and breaking away from the U.S. has been ramping up.
Really?! Are we turning into that kind of a country? For some reason I was under the impression that were were a civil democracy. I thought we had really begun to leave behind many of the evils of the past, but in the last couple of years I’ve been consistently proven wrong. I thought that our country had moved past much of the racism that has plagued us for years but the naked hatred directed at Obama through the election and in the last year has been appalling. I thought that the McCarthyism of WWII and Joseph McCarthy had passed but Glenn Beck has revived it with great gusto. I thought that we were a country that believed in Democracy that, at it’s core, was built on peaceful transitions of power, but some of the violence this weekend is making me question that.
I hope I’m wrong.