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A Stark Choice

Even though the most critical part of the new health care bill will not aid me for four years — insurance companies will not be banned from denying adults with pre-existing conditions until 2014 — I am still so grateful that the Democrats found their courage and stepped up to tackle a big issue, a big problem.  This bill is timid, but it’s a first step, and more steps can be taken and I’m confident they will be taken.  

There have been other times when government stepped up — social security, the G.I. Bill, Medicare, and Civil Rights.  And it’s the civil rights issues that are uppermost in my thoughts tonight.  Saturday and Sunday the true face of the Tea Party was revealed — vicious, racist and hate filled.

Congressman John Lewis, one of the heroes of the civil rights movement, was called the N word by a Tea Party protester.  This is a man who was nearly beaten to death trying to march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama on March 21st, 1965.  I don’t know if he made it to Montgomery because of his injuries, but if he did he heard Dr. Martin Luther King give the “arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” speech.  

But today, 45 years later, some mouth breather has brought back a time we had all hoped was gone forever.  Another African-American Congressman, Emanuel Cleaver, was spat on and called the N word.  Barney Frank, an openly gay Congressman was called “faggot”.

Through all of this various Republican representatives addressed this crowd, cheered them on, supported them.  When these disgusting and hateful actions were revealed did a single Republican disavow these people?  No.  They blamed the Democrats and the President.  The thrust of the argument appeared to be “If they just hadn’t made these people so mad they would never have said these things.”  It’s a silly, school yard defense, unworthy of grown men and women.  Another dodge was that the press made it up.  Or it was Democrat activists hidden among those good Tea Party folks.  Yeah, the Tea Party people who verbally abused and threw money at a man in a wheelchair who suffered from Parkinson’s Disease.

A spirited debate would have been fine, but there was no debate.  There were lies and fear mongering on the part of the Republicans and Tea Party members — death panels and other gibberish.  Where was their plan aside from — “let the insurance companies do whatever they want, it’s working out fine for us.”  Or “I’ve got mine, Jack, screw the rest of you.”

I’ve recently watched a friend go, literally, to the brink of death because he didn’t have insurance, and he didn’t go to a doctor for routine checkups that would have spared him a terrifying and horrible experience, and that ended up costing tax payers a shit load more then those checkups would have cost.

Normal people feel compassion, and outrage that such a thing could happen in this, the wealthiest and most power country in the world.  Others, the faces of rage we saw in Washington over the weekend, shout epithets and threaten violence, and mock the sick and weak and poor.

But I’ll wager they all fancy themselves to be  good Christians.

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