Many Republicans have expressed shock and outrage at Representative Alan Grayson (D-FL) for his recent talk and display on the floor of the House of Representatives while discussing health care reform. The Congressman, using posters, mocked the Republican's plan as 1. "Don't Get Sick" and 2. "If you do get sick, Die Quickly!" Sounds a lot like the Health Insurance Companies' policies. Could there be a correlation here?
I was stunned too but for different reasons. I found myself applauding Congressman Grayson's gumption. Later when he was asked by GOP leaders to apologize, he wouldn't back down, saying he would only apologize to the 44,000 dead this past year for lack of health care.
In my opinion, he went a little too far in using the word "holocaust" to describe the health care catastrophe. That term evokes harsh images, and references to Nazism have been used much too loosely on both sides of the political spectrum lately. Arianna Huffington and Keith Olbermann agree with me, having expressed their views on Olbermann's MSNBC show. Rachel Maddow's shoe, the Rep. Grayson admitted that he could have used a different word.
However, Rep. Grayson expressed no regrets to Ms. Maddow for what he said about the GOP. In fact he went further by calling Republican lawmakers "knuckle dragging Neanderthals."
How refreshing from a Democrat! I know President "No Drama" Obama has called for civility in our debate on health care reform and Congress often reminds me of kids fighting on the playground. Many Americans are fed up with Washington and all its bickering. But somehow after months of the Republican minority trying to stop Obama's programs at all costs without having any plans of their own, it was a relief to hear someone call them on it in their own House.
As Rachel Maddow pointed out, several Republicans in the House and Senate have falsely evoked the "death" word in their assessments of the Democratic health care reform bill.
The fact that Republicans seem to winning the "war of words" in this debate may be attributed to their ability to communicate simple concepts that people understant, no matter how untrue or scary. Many in the public still believe in Sarah Palin's "death squad" claim, no matter how many times it has been refuted.
The thing that often discourages me is that it seems the Democrats are as controlled by the Health Insurance and Pharmaceutical Companies as the Republicans are. Otherwise, why would Democratic lawmakers bail out on the "public option" even though over 70% of Americans are for it?
That may be why it was so refreshing to hear a Democrat assert the simple truth. Sometimes it seems the Dems still feel like they are the minority party. Maybe eight years of being bullied by Bush and Company has not worn off yet and they still have a "victim" mentality. Even after they gained the majority in 2006, President Bush blocked them at every turn. It is no wonder why Congress" approval rating has been so low for years, and continues to tank.
I find myself craving a Representative or Senator of any party that has principles that he or she stands for, who is not manipulated by lobbyists and special interests groups, and who truly represents the people who elected him or her. Is that too much to ask for? And having guts helps too.