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A SWAT to those who try to turn a sideshow into the main event

Submitted by on Thursday, 10 September 2009 No Comment

I’m not going to pick on Joe Wilson.

The South Carolina congressman¬† earned the honors of poster boy of the week for Foot in Mouth Disease after his impolitc political outburst Wednesday during the president’s health care speech. He’s facing enough heat already.

Besides, Wilson isn’t the problem. He’s just another symptom of what’s wrong in this country, from parents who dig disrespecting the president’s efforts to rally schoolchildren to politicians who think it’s cool to yell “You lie!” on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Have we lost all sense of decorum? Are we so far down the path of “I’m right, you’re wrong, na na na na boo boo” that anything goes now? Are we so intellectually bankrupt that we can no longer acknowledge the vast expanse between one opinion and another – the territory where the truth usually lies? Can we even recognize opinion?

Fact: The health care bill, as currently drafted, does not provide subsidies to illegal immigrants. Point to the president.

Fact: Illegal immigrants already receive free health care in this country, because emergency rooms and doctors are morally obligated to treat them. Point to Wilson.

Fact: Children of illegal immigrants are covered under a number of government programs, including health care, if they were born here. But, then, if they were born here, they’re not illegal immigrants, are they? They’re as American as Wilson.

I’m not going to give that point to¬† anyone on the right who’s trying blame immigration for every ill in our country and whip good, God-fearing people into a frenzy of fear of anyone not as pale as they are. And if that doesn’t work, they’ll try to scare us into thinking the Obama administration wants to kill off the old folks.

That’s one reason we can’t get an honest debate about how to fix a health care system that, under any rational analysis, is horridly broken. We pay more for less coverage as hospitals go bankrupt and governments are forced to the brink. Insurance companies continue to rake in the cash, though.

And our so-called leaders are shouting “you lie!” And the media are lapping it up. And bloggers are gleefully Twittering about how much money was raised in 24 hours to support a campaign to oppose Wilson next year. “That’s grassroots!”

No, that’s a bastardization of a pretty good system. It’s called democracy. Would the founding fathers even recognize it the way we practice it?

A big chunk of the country spent a big chunk of today, not analyzing the president’s speech or researching the bill, but kibitzing about a congressman few people outside his home state had heard of before last night. It was a colossal waste of time.

So folks, Stop Wasting America’s Time. This is a serious issue. Can we please discuss it seriously?

Know of someone who deserves a SWAT? Click here to make a nomination.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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