Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Prognostication Wrong Again

Way back in the Spring of 2008 I was writing a lot about politics. At the time I mentioned that I was going to vote for Obama over Clinton because I thought that another Clinton in the White House would be too polarizing. After his election, I felt Obama was going to be a calming influence on the body American Politic. He seemed to be for awhile, but that has changed. It has been a long, long time since I have seen a President as hated and castigated by a portion of the country as this guy is. I have seen pictures of him with Hitler moustaches, I have seen his name elongated to every insulting “Arab sounding” name a person can think of. Yesterday a small child was carrying a sign accusing him of wanting to kill her grandmother. It has been ugly, ugly, ugly.  The proximate cause (as we lawyers like to say) has been the health care plan, which no one, either pro or con understands, but the ugliness that is being released is much deeper than that. We have had health care debates before, we did not paint swastikas on the offices of Congressmen who supports the plan.


The plain and simple fact is that there is a decent sized group of people in this country who hate the thought of Obama being President of the United States, they hate his policies, but that hate him more. I guess just because a country can elect a President does not mean that he/she won’t be harassed by fringe elements of the electorate. There was a time when I was in a fringe element and somewhere in the archives of Richard Nixon are the telegrams my roommate and I used to send him. At the time, the left was every bit a nasty as the right is behaving now. It comes from total frustration, and, I’m afraid, a certain disposition toward nastiness. A certain part of the element is violent and I imagine that we will see some of that before this particular debate is over, but maybe not, right now the element of choice is rudeness and intimidation.


The older I get the more stock I put in simple human decency. If John McCain had been elected, it would have never crossed my mind to paint a Hitler moustache on his picture, but some on my side of the table would have. George W. Bush was called vile things. Partially in defense of his detractors, he started an unjust war that killed thousands of our young people. But that defense only goes so far. We have always had debates over whether a particular war was necessary, it can be discussed civilly. I’m sure that I stepped out of bounds in some of the things I called Bush and as I see the morons of this country shouting down the policy makers, it makes me sorry for my past behavior. There is no reason to get personal in all of this.


I don’t know if the health care plan is worth a damn, mainly because I don’t understand it. I can’t hear the explanations over the shouting about socialism and death squads. My strong suspicion is that there are an awful lot of dumb things in it, and I would like to hear about them from a rational conservative  source, preferably at a decibel level that in some way approximates a conversation. If I don’t like it, I will join the chorus of nay sayers,that’s my right and to some extent our duty. But we also have a duty is to admit that there are policies being debated   here  that are not motivated by the fact that the President’s middle name is Hussein .


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