Civility

In reply to a recent Facebook post I made about the deterioration of decorum, a friend of mine made some interesting comments about Joe Wilson, the “You lie!” guy in congress. I wanted to spill out all my thoughts, and Facebook just didn’t seem to be the right place. I’m not sure this is either, but who cares….

To provide some context, here’s my original post:
Thinking a lot about the lack of civility these days. Troubling that our kids are seeing “grown ups” carrying on like spoiled, tantrum throwing idiots. Who would have thought that Joe Wilson and Kanye West have so much in common?!?!

And here was my friend’s reply:
Face it, we can still be like children as grown up. Kanye is simply an idiot and Joe is simply frustrated because his hands are tied and he see through the lies. Too bad they both made fools of themselves. I doubt our kids would see Joe as they probably don’t watch politics but Kanye is a prime example of what Mike is saying. Good thoughts Mike.

I can understand why Joe Wilson may be unhappy, but I hardly think his hands are tied. We live in a democracy, and anyone can run for president, or congress, and change the course of the way things are done. And to make sure that nobody’s hands are tied, they hold those elections regularly. Great idea.

Of course, the question is, when you’re in the minority, what do you do? One tried and true tactic is to dig your feet in, and try no matter what to make the other side fail. And in my experience, both parties have a long history of that kind of crap. Party politics trumping what’s good for the country – sad. For a long while there, speaking out against the President was called unpatriotic, but I guess that’s not the rule anymore.

As for the context of Wilson’s outburst, Obama had just mentioned that under his plan, illegal immigrants wouldn’t be insured. While Wilson kind of apologized for being rude, he didn’t apologize about the facts. The trouble is, in every analysis I’ve heard and read, (and yes, I suppose I do tend towards the whacky left for my media inputs like NPR) Obama was telling the truth about illegal immigrants and healthcare. Here are a couple of references:

The funny thing is…they get healthcare RIGHT NOW anyways! Due to laws prohibiting hospitals from turning people away, pretty much anyone in America can see a doctor. Of course, most economists and health care professionals shudder at the dollars involved at having only emergency rooms available to people – but that’s the corner we’ve painted ourselves into for now.

Looking beyond Mr. Wilson, I think it’s important to take note of an important shift in the rhetoric in the last week or two regarding health care. A number of times recently I’ve heard or read conservatives mention that the proposals being considered would lead to a government takeover of health care in America. (Here’s John McCain) Why I find this of interest, is that it’s completely un-attackable. It’s not based on any particular fact, it’s just a postulation. A postulation based on fear.

I think there’s a lot more to write about governing by instilling fear in your constituency. But that’ll have to be some other time.

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