Friday, March 26, 2010

Health Care Reform's Revolutionary War

I had imagined stuff like this would happen, but not to this extent. One could almost rank this by the degree of bad taste or cowardice involved. At the bottom would be people sending phone messages threatening Democrats and some Republicans even. Not to mention one person attacking Bart Stupak for his involvement in passing the bill through negotiations on funding for abortions allegedly written in the bill. I can understand criticizing the guy for being in some sense inconsistent with his own so called “pro life” position. And as you can read elsewhere, the whole term has little meaning to me in the sense of consistent application towards all issues, such as the obvious one that inspires accusations of hypocrisy, capital punishment. But I have seen other bloggers, one college acquaintance of mine running “In Defense of the Constitution” having strong words but not resorting to personal attacks on the person’s character beyond a critique on inconsistency of many so called Republicans in his view.

Above the phone calls (the highest on incivility being the implied death threats) would be the vandalism, throwing bricks at Democratic offices, leaving a coffin in one Russ Carnahan’s front lawn, sending a letter with an as yet unidentified white powder in it (obvious anthrax scare) and sending a fax to James Clyburn with a noose along with threatening phone calls. It’s one thing to strike fear through an otherwise distant method such as the phone, but another to directly attack property and threaten violence in graphic forms such as a noose in a fax or what may have just been laundry detergent to scare people into thinking someone sent anthrax in the mail (alluding to attacks that happened after September 11, 2001).

And probably the worst instance yet is a combination of vandalism and direct threats of violence with a bullet fired at Republican Eric Cantor’s office. Attacks on Democrats are one thing, since there’s more polarization, but when you attack someone that is presumably part of your own party because you disagree with how they vote on such an issue just creates internal conflict that is already a demonstrable problem with the Republican Party. I’m not a member of either party, but that’s beside the point. With the Tea Party rising up in a grassroots movement against government in general, there is a correlation, though not necessarily causation that these attacks may be motivated by this group. Even many Republicans suggest this is in bad taste, which is encouraging for some improvement of the general resentment that has existed between the two parties. Democrats are hardly free from smear campaigns or mudslinging, though one would have to investigate whether there is any connection between liberal or conservative tendencies and a predisposition to use extreme methods to get a point across. The general point many bloggers no doubt are trying to get across is that disagreements can be civil and not descend into personal attacks, violence, vandalism or threats of either. However much Democrats and Republicans may disagree, the bipartisan goal, however difficult it appears, may be the best solution to the issue at present of a two party system’s dominance over the political landscape. Until next time, Namaste and Aloha.

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