Friday, August 7

There You Go Again

Heart throb to the Right, Ronald Reagan, was known for defusing his often younger opponents' views by using the phrase "there you go again" and following up with his more seasoned if not reasoned viewpoint. It was a remarkably effective technique that made me wonder how he would have fared with the kind of "hotheads" that are showing up at health care townhalls and actively disrupting them. The strategy for these disruptions is in a memo that has been widely circulated on the web from Bob MacGuffie, a "founding member" of Right Principles, a group whose core values includes "to the fullest extent possible that governmental power should be devolved to the state and local level and that a free society prospers from and depends on the unbridled self-initiative of its people."

Apparently the "unbridled self-initiative" part includes shouting down the elected representatives of their districts so that any kind of meaningful dialogue cannot take place. As it stands Americans are evenly divided about what to do about the health care reform. And certainly with millions of dollars being pumped into reframing health care reform around who do you trust more "us", the corporate and free-enterprising citizens or "them", the socialist, over-blown government that wants to control your lives (or, as seen from the other side of the fence, "us" the greedy, self-absorbed corporations and their right-winged henchmen and "them" the government whose job is to fill the gaps that the private sector is unable or unwilling to do).

In the middle of all this is the loss of rational thought and clear facts. And that is what needs to prevail on an issue as electrically charged as this. We need a national debate about health care that allows both sides to lay out their arguments for and against and what solutions they propose for those who are uninsured and those who will be if health care costs continue to rise.

There is nothing wrong with vigorous debate, but if no one can hear the debate, no good can come from it. With apologies to Elvis what we need is "a little less talk, a little more conversation."

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