Barking Dogs Have the Smallest Bite. Shouting Down Real Healthcare Debate.

ferrisAre Anger and Fear Giving Common Sense and Decency a Run for the Money?

Director John Hughes died August 6th from an apparent heart attack at age 59.  He leaves behind a stable of quotable iconic 80s films (Vacation, Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink) that will continue to make audiences smile.

One of my favorite Hughes films has to be Ferris Beuller’s Day Off.  Complaining about having to write a paper about European socialists, the young Ferris laments “I’m not European. I don’t plan on being European. So who cares if they’re socialists? They could be fascist anarchists. It still doesn’t change the fact that I don’t own a car. Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism’s in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself.”

Not everyone has taken Ferris Beuller’s advice to heart.  In recent days, terms like “socialism” “Nazism” and “communism” have been used to describe the Obama administration.  You may have seen a television interview where dentist / lawyer/ real estate agent / birth certificate aficionado Orly Taitz described the current administration as brown shirted thugs, an obvious reference to the Nazi Party. No matter what part of the political fence you sit on, you probably agree that such characterizations are a wee bit over the top and quite ridiculous.

Personally, it drives me nuts when people throw around terms Nazi and Communist.  My family comes from Poland. (You know, the piece of  real estate unfortunately parked between Germany and Russia.) Polish people know a thing or two about the horrors of both isms.  As a child, I visited Poland during the height of communism.  I observed the long lines to buy food.   You would be put on waiting lists to be able to buy a bicycle or get an apartment.I had relatives who were members of the Solidarity movement. Trust me.  Cash for Clunkers is hardly a communist conspiracy.  And after hearing the stories my grandfather told me about invading Nazis, I can confidently tell you President Obama is far from being a Nazi. Those who make such statements do diservice to those who served in WWII, including Obama’s grandfather.

Republican or Democrat, I suggest that Americans should make an effort to keep a clear head. In town hall meetings across the country, we have seen health care opponents attempt to shout down constructive conversation on the topic.  They have turned potentially constructive forums into bitch sessions used to vent frustration through yelling.   It apppears anger and fear have attempted to replace common sense and decency.  Personally,  I want to know what this new health care plan entails. I want specifics. It’s tough to get information when some loud mouth next to you is shouting “Communist” while clutching talking points provided by groups with alterior motives.

It always surprised me that so many are quick to form their opinions based on what comes out of the mouth of guys like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.   In my home state of Connecticut, the local mouthpiece  seems to be Jim Vicevich.  Funny thing is, I really like listening to these guys. I tune in.  But they are entertainers. They feed off discourse even if it is to the detriment of progress.   Rouse the rabble and ratings go up. I was listening to Vicevich earlier today. I’ve followed him since his days at the local Channel 3 News in Hartford, Connecticut. Jim quickly cut off a caller who started bringing up using arms. Let’s not go there, he quipped. Vicevich tends to mimic guys like Rush right down to tapping the desk with his script and repetitive slogans. Their antics have decreased the quality of the debate. But hey slogans work. Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce cheese and all. You can hear the same slogans over and over again being used to shout down Congressman at public meetings.

The issue of Health Care is complex. You can’t reduce it to a slogan. As Ferris would say, “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Whatever your views are, take a moment to really look at the proposals. I hear complaints, but I don’t hear alternatives.  Healthcare does need to be reformed.  I am not suggesting you should accept one side over the other.  Quite the opposite.  I want you to make an informed educated choice. Get the facts, not soundbites from talk radio .If you don’t like what is being proposed, let them know.  But try doing it like a normal person. Shouting will get you nowhere.

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