Thursday, April 8, 2010
Can’t We All Just Get Along?
After a long drawn out battle to pass health care reform, the battle has been won, but at what cost? Already fourteen states have threatened to sue the U.S. Government claiming that they don’t have the funds to pay for additional healthcare costs as mandated by President Obama’s plan within their states. Rhetoric on both the Democratic and Republican sides has reached a fever pitch so much so that shots have been fired into House Minority Whip Eric Cantor’s window and a suspicious package was delivered to Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner. I dare to ask who’s to blame for the increased hostilities and the divisiveness that we’ve been seeing over the past couple of months.
Oh, where to begin. First off, the Republicans have been doing their best to spread fear and dissension whenever they’ve chosen to speak. Whether it’s Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Bill O’Reilly, Michael Steele or Mitch McConnell, these speakers have inundated the American public with the same mantras over and over. Health care reform means more government control and government control is bad. Health care reform will mean higher taxes for everyone. Health care reform will drain funds from Medicare. Health care reform is just another example of Democrats spending and spending (hmmm, anyone remember the Afghanistan and Iraq wars under the Bush administration which plunged the nation into the largest budget deficit in history?). Sadly, the Republicans have done little to expound upon these statements. These are the facts, so just deal with them, OK? That’s all you need to know, say the Republicans.
This has lead to the formation of the infamous Tea Party and similar groups. Now, I’m all for having other groups expressing their opinions, and I think the country needs more than just a Democratic and Republican voice. Unfortunately, while the Tea Party claims that they embrace both Democratic and Republican voices, it seems that they’re a group that has taken the Republican fear mongering ball and run with it. I have yet to hear them bring anything constructive to the table outside of attacking the current administration, or anything else they don’t like. In fact, many Tea Party rallies seem more like Klan or Brown Shirt meetings than anything else.
I also blame President Obama and his cabinet. Much of the venom that is currently being spewed could have been avoided if the President took more time out of his schedule to educate the American public and detractors of the plan. There were too few town hall meetings that were set up and none of them were televised to the entire nation. The President could have quelled the ire of many by presenting the benefits of his health care plan and rebutting his dissenters on prime time television and on social networking sites. It seems that President Obama was more concerned with getting health care legislation passed rather than educating the American public.
But there’s an even more insidious problem going on here and that problem involves the all-mighty dollar, lobbyists and the control that many corporations exert upon the political machine. Many Senators and House members have a vested interest in the numerous corporations that work with and are connected to the U.S. government. These corporations could be health care related, military contractors, engineering firms, you name it. If something happens to rock these corporation’s boats, like say health care reform, and changes the way they operate or make money, or if a particular Senator sees that his or her investments in said corporation might be jeopardized, then those same Senators will kick, claw and scratch to make sure their investments and lobbyists are happy.
In the end, it’s the average American that suffers, caught in a battle between two rich, spoiled adversaries. Both adversaries claim that they are fighting the good fight, but I dare to ask, are they really? Both sides need to stop catering to themselves, to special interest groups and to the big bad corporations out there. Honestly, what’s a couple of million or billion in the grand scheme of things? Until that time comes (if it ever does), we’ll continue to be treated to more games of “he said, she said”.
Image courtesy of jasonmartinmft.com