Thursday, August 27, 2009

Congressman Patrick McHenry

There was a Town Hall Meeting held at the Mack Center in Mooresville North Carolina on August 26th. The Rally was hosted by Congressman Patrick McHenry. Congressman McHenry is a Republican.

The Congressman began speaking out against HR 3200 by throwing the bill on the floor so that everyone in attendance could hear a thump. Then the Congressman quoted The Lewin Group and shared that organizations view that private health care insurance companies will be driven out of business if a Public Option is passed in any form of Health Care legislation by Congress and the President.

Congressman McHenry had the opportunity to point out to his constituents that The Lewin Group is a subsidiary of United Healthcare. The Congressman had almost two hours to share that information. The Congressman either didn't know the foundation of his information or he knew it only too well and determined that some of the 195 attendees might question the validity of an analysis performed by a group funded by insurance companies.

Questions were invited from the floor and two lines were formed. The Congressman listened smiling as one after another stood to praise him for hosting the meeting, our Constitution and it's framers, and to voice their fears of reform and change, our government and Liberals.

The Congressman thanked a young high school student who rose to speak for not video taping him again for his opponent. The young man called on the room for communication regardless of party affiliation for the good of the country and when he mentioned the high cost of prescription drugs there were comments from the audience that the Congressman made no effort to quell.

Free speech and good manners do not necessarily go hand in hand.

It was not until a slight African American Lady stood with a homemade sign supporting our President and HR 3200 that the Congressman realized that time was running short and he interrupted that Lady several times. The Lady persevered, though, telling a room full of the fearful that President Obama did not deserve name calling and worse from people he was trying to help.

There were no protesters, no angry mobs, and, with the exception of a few catcalls directed at the single supporter of the President who rose to speak, everyone in attendance was well behaved. The Republicans in attendance listened closely to what they wanted to hear. The Democrats listened carefully, especially to the disparaging comments made by the Congressman regarding Congressman Barney Frank and the Speaker of the House.

Congressman Patrick McHenry did nothing to convince me that HR 3200 is a bad bill. He admitted to not having read it. He quoted The Lewin Group and kept that groups provenance to himself. And he did nothing to reassure the elderly in attendance that they had nothing to fear from the President or the members of the opposition party.

He told 195 constituents that abortion is mentioned twice in HR 3200. A search of the document resulted in zero instances of abortion being found. The Congressman seemed unaware of the Hyde Amendment. The amendment that Republicans passed that prevents federal dollars from being used for abortions.

The Congressman might not be a panderer and a bottom feeder. I simply can't make that judgment based on the performance that I witnessed.

Apparently there are Republicans who have stronger opinions regarding our Congressman:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Just Say No

History. Sometimes it's a terrible uncomfortable thing.

We see a black President in 'our' White House and we'd like to wish away Article 1 Section 2 of 'our' Constitution which considered black men and women to be three fifths of a person. With the election of Barack Obama white America would like to believe that racism no longer exists. And too many white Americans are practicing the same sort of denial that today's most rabid anti-Semites enjoy when denying the Holocaust.

Sure, they'll tell you, slavery was bad. But, it's been a hundred and fifty years since Lincoln freed the slaves. They forget that it was the assassination of JFK that spurred LBJ to push, and he pushed some Representatives and Senators to the brink, for the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

Glenn Beck is now doing everything in his power to stir up hatred for the President and for Liberals every night on Fox and on his radio broadcasts. Hate and fear. He says that the President is a racist. And he says it to the 2 million viewers who can not get enough of his message. Glenn Beck feeds those who hunger for his hate speech and he panders to those who can't take their eyes off the train wreck that's coming. And Glenn Beck knows it.

But Glenn Beck isn't as dangerous as those who defend him. Glenn Beck has as much right to free speech as anyone in America. That does not mean that his freedom of speech comes without cost. It does not mean that those who disagree with him should not do so loudly. And it doesn't mean that those who defend his rants and his insanity aren't as responsible as he is for the consequences of his daily dose of prodding the mad dogs who live among us.

Anyone who doesn't believe that speech has consequences only has to look at Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler. Germans weren't marched into uniform at bayonet point. They did not pin deaths head insignias on their blouses and begin collecting Jews and other 'undesirables' because they were afraid to stand up to the government. Germans and Austrians heard a message that they themselves believed to be true and they rose up like so many zombies to carry out a horror that to this day is almost unimaginable.

Hitler told them that what they did they did for the good of Germany. And they believed him. And we don't like to talk about that.

Pictures of Obama with Hitler mustaches brought to Town Hall Meetings are defended as 'free speech' by Fox and Rush. When the Speaker of the House points out that some protesters are bringing signs with swastikas on them she is attacked by Fox and the Right Wing radio entertainers for insulting good hardworking Americans.

A man who wants to provide affordable health care to all Americans is not a Nazi. Those who would paint him as one may not be either, but, they are certainly on that path.

Fear of change. Fear of blacks. Fear of Liberals. And certainly fear of Jews. Don't ignore the nightly attacks by Fox on the President's Chief of Staff. Fear. And from fear, hatred. What follows?

History can scare you. And it should. Movements grow from words and from fear. You've heard that no revolution marched on a full stomach. But revolutions and worse have marched on the bones of those they were taught to fear and hate by people like Glenn Beck and Shawn Hannity. Hiding behind the flag does not make you a patriot.

Those who work to divide are the enemies of all Americans. We should all feel free to voice our opinions and to live our lives according to our beliefs, but, when we leave issues at the door and lie and do it just to frighten the ignorant and the feeble minded we have crossed a line that all civilizations depend on.

Calling the opposition Nazis isn't fair. According to FOX. Unless it's a FOX entertainer calling someone a Nazi. Or Glenn Beck, presenting a special on Eugenics. Saying in no uncertain terms that he doesn't believe that Eugenics is coming. Glenn Beck just wants America to understand history. And what might happen when a nation with socialized health care experiences an economic crisis.

Frightening. Especially if you're an elderly person who doesn't understand that Medicare is a government program. Or a Right Wing Republican who doesn't remember Ronald Reagan telling America that Medicare would end freedom and The American Way.

The pandering Republicans won't say that Medicare is bad. They depend too much on retirees. They instead will say that the way Medicare is managed is bad. And they will say that the government can not manage health care.

When insurance companies and Republicans agree on the types of Health Care Reform that America needs isn't that the moment when we tilt our heads? Isn't that the 'oh' moment?

It is past time to just say no to the politics of big business and myth of the Free Market. Time to flip the channel past FOX. It is time for change.