all views are welcome, let's use two wings to soar!

Posts Tagged ‘health care bill’

An open letter response to my last open letter

In Recent Headlines on March 24, 2010 at 11:42 am

Good morning, everyone.

I am going to start with an honest apology. I offended some of my friends who participate in the Tea Party movement with my open letter. While my intent was humor, the reality was it was offensive to some. Since the road to hell is paved with good intentions, I feel compelled to apologize.

I would like to rewind to the impetus behind my post. Perhaps this is viewed as closing the barn door after the horse ran away, but I still feel the need to expound.

It’s no secret that I lean left politically. That conjures all sorts of assumptions, some of which are true, but not all. I love the planet, I love my fellow-man, and I believe we should care for both with equal fervor. My life’s walk has shaped my belief system.

However, with last week’s landmark health care bill, it was not easy to slice through the sensationalism and into the true heart of the matter. I imagine it’s quite the same for a conservative. As a liberal, when I want to try to hear the other side, it’s really difficult for me to get past the insulting rhetoric. I don’t appreciate being told I’m an insane socialist, money waster, borderline communist because I have a different set of priorities than they do. Different is not right or wrong. It’s different. Again, we all prioritize things in our lives based on personal experiences.

One thing about my personality is that I live frugally and well within my means. Needless to say, the cost of the bill didn’t sit well with me. I know how to budget for my household, it upsets me that there isn’t a higher level of concern by our leadership. But truly, both sides escalated the deficit. Additionally, there were very few calls to control the costs. No incentives for doctors, pharmaceutical companies, or insurance companies to keep costs under control. Not to mention some tort reform. Another issue that bothered me was the lack if language about personal responsibility. It bothers me that people as a whole do not take better care of their bodies. When I read news stories about a 600 lb. woman whose goal is to reach 1000 lbs., to think that my taxes will pay for her horrific abuse to her body is insulting. I really wanted more information.  (actually I linked to both Huffington Post and FOX news for that story… YAY somewhere we agree!)

When I posted my tongue in cheek essay about what our taxes ought to pay for, I hoped to steer it towards dialogue that “since we have to pay for health care, where can we trim our budget?” I am sincerely grateful for the thoughtful input.

Now to the part I absolutely refuse, will not, cannot apologize for. There are people in this movement who are frightening and dangerous and I wrote about them. They destroy the credibility of the cause. When bricks are thrown, people are spit on, calls for assassination made, inflammatory words like n** and f** are used, all reasonable discourse is destroyed. I cannot believe any member of the movement who isn’t “like that” wasn’t equally horrified by what people were doing in their name.  I cannot believe the official news version is “that never happened, we never saw it.”

The best analogy I offer is as a sports fan. I am a lifelong Cleveland Browns fan. I say that with trepidation because there is a section of the stadium, the Dawg Pound, famous for its crazy fans. A few years ago, this section of fans threw projectile items at the referees, based on calls they didn’t agree with. I wasn’t in that section of the stadium, I wasn’t even at the game, so I never saw it happen. But I wrote a letter to the editor apologizing on behalf of the buffoon fans who made our city and the loyal fans look horrible on a national stage. Because I aligned myself with my home team, I felt it appropriate to apologize on their behalf.

Apologies and outrage are glaringly absent. It’s heartbreaking. When such fringe members are not called out on their disgusting antics, silence is considered endorsement. I cannot believe more tea party patriots are not concerned about their reputation as a grassroots movement. Extremism, wherever it comes from is terribly dangerous. I fear for the lives of those who disagree.  Truly.  This isn’t alarmist language. It only takes one crazy angry person with one bullet and good aim to kill someone.

My refusal to apologize for writing about the fringe members of the movement is a call for honesty, an open invitation for the mainstream members to speak up. Here is an opportunity. Denounce the extremists, speak about your real goals.

No humor, no satire, no tongue in cheek messages. Straight up.

The floor is open.


Open letter to TEA party patriots

In Recent Headlines on March 22, 2010 at 8:58 am

Foreword: This essay is a bit of a departure from my usual voice, but it’s an attempt to open some much needed dialogue. I hope you take it in that spirit. The intent is not to offend but rather to gather some alternative views. Thank you in advance.

Dear TEA Party Patriots, 

You can breathe a sigh of relief that the Constitution is safe. Many of you offered reassuring words amidst queries as to your motives for the recent protests over the Health Care Bill. Still others offer the “Taxed Enough Already” explanations. Sorry to the Taxed Enough-ers, you still have to pay taxes. Even contributions to your own organization, Tea Party Patriots, Inc., are not tax deductible. That must be a real kick in the pants.

Take heart, as long as Americans pay federal taxes, you have a long list of causes to protest. 

Might I suggest you stage one of your next protests at Yellowstone National Park? Can you believe that tax dollars finance its operation? How many of you have even been there? I have not, so why should I pay for some place I may never visit. Were the park privatized, we could have a corporately sponsored National Park. That would not take away from the natural beauty in the least. In addition, nowhere in the constitution does it suggest we are to have beauty; it is a privilege, not a right. 

Do you have any idea how many hundreds of miles of pavement our tax dollars finance? There are bridges that I will never cross. Why should I pay for roads I do not use? Yet another opportunity for corporate sponsorship to finance the roads! Suppose you could only drive on a road that was sponsored by your brand of vehicle. Consider the possibilities if General Motors sponsored all the roads. No bailout needed for them, because anyone who wanted to use the roads would have to buy their vehicles. Killing two tax drains with one stone. 

The list goes on. Tax dollars pay for so many things most people will never personally use. Privatize it so that only the folks who use it will benefit from it.

Who would sponsor our schools? Currently only 7 out of 10 students graduate from high school, so perhaps the fast food chains could sponsor the schools, ensuring a steady flow of employees when someone dropped out.

It is unfortunate that much of your message was tainted by accusations not so thinly disguised racism and hatred. It is unfortunate that your concern for the nation as a whole seems to only be about the part of the nation you need. It is unfortunate that some of your followers have resorted to brick throwing, spitting, name-calling, and calls for assassination. Thank goodness, however, they guarded Freedom of Speech. Almost every admonition of such behavior I’ve read or heard has also had a disclaimer.

You simply do not want to be forced to pay for programs that do not affect your life. The good news is, this battle may be lost but the war is just beginning.  The list of things to protest has only begun. The opportunities are boundless for creative, free market capitalists.

Who would sponsor war?

More importantly, would anyone sponsor peace?