A news fast can be a wonderful thing. I highly recommend it. However, it has become harder and harder to truly fast these days. I was on vacation last week in Provincetown, M.A. and enjoying the lobster rolls, the art galleries, the sun and especially the cocktails by the pool when I turned on the small TV in my B&B. I just felt like checking in for some reason. When I pushed the ON button the first channel that popped up was CSPAN. I was just in time to see Senator Arlen Spector's Townhall in Lebanon, P.A. Oh goodie.
I was about to change the channel when I watched as a rather vocal man was intent on asking the Senator a question. He had trouble vocalizing, probably because he was nervous, but when he got his chance to speak he simply asked the Senator if he would go back to DC and represent the "true Americans." What exactly did he mean by that? More angry voices spoke up and made it clear they "didn't want our country to turn into Russia". "This is the Soviet Union, this is Maoist China," one man yelled to him. "The people in this room want their country back." I had had enough already and turned the TV off. I was going to do my best to continue my fast. On the trip home on Sunday it was announced that the White House might give up on the public option. Seemed like bad news all around for Obama and the Democrats health care plan.
I guess I'm tired of all these disruptions and all this yelling and I'm especially over all the misinformation -- thank you kindly, Sarah Palin, with your death panel rants on Facebook. Keep up the good work. Who are the "true Americans" these days? And why is it okay to do everything they can to spread rumors filled with tales of putting your grandma down? I thought these folks went away on January 20. What is going on these days in our country? I think it is what's always been there -- fear. People are afraid of things changing too fast. We have a black president. He just appointed a Wise Latina to the Supreme Court. What will he do next? What happened to my America? We are becoming a more blended melting pot of a nation as every day and every minute goes by. I think these people are afraid of losing power and there's probably no way to reason with them.
I feel like our country is still more divided than ever. It's still red states versus blue states, I suppose. It is totally American to dissent and to fight for your rights, but I feel like what's going on at these town halls is not dissent because you never get the chance to hear a debate. These people seem to be there only to cause disruption and distraction. Well, I'm tired of it. I feel like the Republicans are only fueling the fire. They've offered no clear alternatives and seem unwilling to support any kind of health care reform. Also, there doesn't seem to be one Republican willing to denounce these disruptions or criticize these folks who are showing up with guns strapped to their legs. What the heck is that about? Things appear to be getting out of hand and if that continues I fear bad news all around.
I want to live in country where we debate and discuss. The Obama proposed health care plan is not even fully flushed out -- there are several versions of the bill in both the House and the Senate that are still up for discussion -- yet all the people are up in arms screaming about things that prove to be completely untrue. I personally think there should be a public option. I have a sister that is without affordable insurance and I think she could benefit from it. People argue that this already exists because no one can be turned away at an emergency room and they don't want to pay to support the uninsured. Unfortunately what they don't realize is that we are already paying for them as preventable illnesses become more serious and costly as the uninsured wait until the last minute for treatment. Lies and misinformation run rampant and only play on everyone's fears. I want there to be more debate. Perhaps the administration is to blame by not making all this information available to quell fears, but it looks like that is starting to change. Today they launched a website to help fight the misinformation. Check it out.
Also, Obama is set to give an online press conference today at 2pm and I'll be watching. I want to learn more. It is time for reason to triumph over confusion. I thought we made some progress in January, but it looks like it's going to be a long road ahead to clarity.
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