I don’t get it.
I read the news, and watch CNN, and surf political blogs.
And for the past three weeks, I’ve seen things that I’ve never seen before in America.
Violent, angry fighting between Americans over … a public policy issue. An issue that’s not anywhere close to the thermometer-busting core heat of the death penalty debate. Or abortion. Or even immigration.
Those arguments, I get. They strike at the fundamental core of what you believe, like when a life starts, or who has the right to live in America legally. Those debates can rise to the level of anger, and sadly in the case of those pathetic cowards who shoot abortion doctors and blow up clinics, tragedy.
But this … this is something completely different.
The health care town hall meetings that are being held all over the country are turning into sickening fisticuffs. Congressmen are getting death threats if they support the bill. Posters of Barack Obama with a Hitler mustache are making the rounds. Ordinary citizens pushing and shoving each other, punching and kicking and scratching and biting for what, exactly?
Because they don’t like the way one party in our democracy wants to reform health care? Because after decade after decade of inaction, and everyone ignoring leaders like Ted Kennedy who warned that America was soon going to be criminally negligent in caring for its sick people, someone is trying to change things?
A lot of this anger and violence, I credit to the right wing blogosphere, and to the TV and radio pundits. We can whip the masses into a froth so much easier these days, because communication is so much simpler to coordinate.
I’m not so Pollyanna-ish that I truly believed we’d get people sitting down at a conference table calmly debating and discussing important health care issues like universal coverage, or public options, or even the true costs of the Obama plan.
But for God’s sake, have we become a country that has to resort to such pure vitriolic hatred toward each other, over a simple public policy issue?
Makes me sad. And it makes me realize that this country that has grown so much more tolerant of so many once-taboo subjects (African-Americans, homosexuals) now finds it is most intolerant about other people’s political views.
Just look at the pure hatred in the faces of the people in that video above. It looks more like the citizens are ready for a lynch mob, not an informational meeting.
Violence at town hall meetings over health care.
Whatever side you’re on, can we agree this is not what America should be about?
UPDATE: OK, now THIS is what America should be about. After Wal-Mart’s little disgusting cash-grab against the Girl Scouts that I wrote about here, Friend of the Blog (and recent well-deserved Pulitzer Prize-winner) Mark Mahoney alerted me to a survey by HCD Research, which says that after viewing a video about the cookie controversy, 58 percent have more negative perception of Wal-Mart.
The study also says that more than one third of Girl Scouts parents who previously shopped at Wal-Mart are now less likely to shop there again.
That’s what I’m talking about, people! Stand up to the evil corporation. Yes, Girl Scout cookies have made me channel my inner Michael Moore!
The complete poll results can be found here.