Archive for September 22nd, 2009

Passionate Without the Hatred of the Tea-BaggersWe all know there’s a lot of debate and contention over the idea of universal healthcare here in the US.  People marching, people screaming and many people generally at their worst levels of behavior.  It’s passionate out there, as it usually is when there is the idea of change in the air, when people are forced to change the way they do or perceive things.  Always been that way.  Always will.

There are always going to be those who, for reasons that seem unfathomable to many, will oppose such change and seek to disrupt its progress in any way possible.  Always been that way.  Always will.

Take, for instance, the Civil Rights Acts of the 1960’s.  There was a Voting Rights Act in 1960 and a Civil Rights Act prohibiting general segregation in 1964.  The world has changed a lot since those days but it was only 45 years ago that a vast number of our citizens were denied their inalienable rights.  So much has changed and the idea of racial equality seems like such a no-brainer for those who like to believe that America is the land of the free that I’m sure that many folks today  take for granted that this legislation passed through Congress in a breeze.

Not so fast.

Like healthcare today, the idea of simply giving all American citizens equal footing was not a popular idea with everyone.  The final votes, in fact, had 27 of the 100 senators voting against the bill.  In the House, 130 of 420 voting voted against it.  As for regional support, only one Southern senator from Texas supported the bill- the other 21 learned men voted against something that we all take for granted today.  Equal treatment under the law.

Now looking at those numbers, there will be those who will say that most of those who voted against the bill were Democrats and this is true.  The Southern Democrat of pre-1964 was a much different creature than the Democrat of today.  In fact, this very Civil Rights Act’s passage paved the way for most, if not all of them to jump ship to the Republican party.  Strom Thurmond was such a party jumper in 1964.

It wasn’t just that these men ( I hate using that term for them but I’m trying to maintain decorum here) voted against universal civil rights.  They also filibustered for 57 days, putting aside the work of this country’s congress so that they could maintain the status quo, the status quo that kept many as sub-citizens.  Besides racism, the idea of fighting so hard against something so basic to our definition of ourselves as Americans is beyond my comprehension.

And that brings me back to healthcare.

Many of the most shrill voices in the battle against healthcare, much like the battle for civil rights,  are Southern voices.  Joe Wilson from South Carolina, for instance.  What is the real motivation here?  Why be so passionately dead set against something that can only help your state, which ranks in the bottom two or three states every year in most rankings for most healthcare categories?

I think the anger of the protesters is misguided and if they would take a minute and think, really think about it, their anger would be just as passionate but at a different target.  If I lived in South Carolina I would be angry at Wilson for defending a health system in a state that has given us some of the worst healthcare in the country.  Some of the worst levels of infant mortality, premature births, teenage pregnancies, highest percentage of uninsured citizens and on and on across all categories.  These angry people, especially those from South Carolina who so wholeheartedly back this slack-jawed idiot as their representative in our government, should be asking Wilson why this is so and what is he doing to get us, the people he represents, the best healthcare they can have.  That they deserve.

But maybe that’s the point: They’re getting exactly the healthcare he thinks they deserve.

So, folks, again I apologize for meandering off my painter’s path.  I just wanted to point out that there will be resistance to any change,especially that which affects the most people,  but we, as a people, have to slog past those who try to slow or stop progress.  There will always be demonization by those who want to live in a past that has benefitted the few over a better future for the many.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: