My wife and I recently visited our son, a freshman, during MU's Family Weekend. We are very proud of our son who is intending to major in journalism. Having heard great things about Missouri's School of Journalism and its daily paper, the Columbia Missourian, I found the September 11-12 edition and devoured it front to back. Being away from university life for nearly 25 years, I thought I should pay particular attention to the political leanings of the paper, especially in light of the Pew Research Center’s recent poll that shows over two-thirds of Americans believe there is bias in the media or news. I was particularly drawn to George Kennedy’s op-ed column titled, “Lack of civility shows America’s ugly side."
Yes, this was an op-ed piece, but I would expect a “professor emeritus” to check his facts and give a balanced view of what is happening in America today. Kennedy’s article was regarding Rep. Joe Wilson’s shout out “You lie!” during President Obama’s health care speech. Wilson shouted out after Obama declared that illegal immigrants will be excluded from insurance coverage. Kennedy states that Obama’s assertion was “demonstrably truthful.” While House Resolution 3200 does not allow for health care for illegal immigrants, it does not provide for any enforcement of that provision.
It's kind of like setting a speed limit on the highway and right next to it posting a sign that states the highway patrol does not have the authority to hand out speeding tickets. Wilson shouted out “You lie!” knowing that two Republican amendments were voted down in committee which would have required proof of citizenship in order to qualify for benefits. It is interesting that now after the shout out, the Senate is making sure that there are provisions to enforce the exclusion. I guess the devil is in the details.
I think everyone would agree that a joint session of Congress is not the place to confront the president. Kennedy states that Wilson apologized to Obama (which was accepted by both the president and vice president), but he thought that the shout-out was probably more sincere. And that is correct; Wilson apologized for shouting out during the address, not for calling Obama a liar.
Truthfully, it is about time that someone has had the guts to call this president a liar, which he is. Obama promised before the election to not have any lobbyists in his administration, to have all legislation posted on his Web site for 72 hours before signing it and to have the most transparent administration ever. Which of these promises has he kept?
Obama continues to state that if you like the health insurance that you have, you can keep it. While on the surface this appears to be true, his statement is disingenuous at best and more likely to be untrue. When you dig into what HR 3200 says, what amendments were defeated, and what Washington legislators say, Obama’s statement doesn’t hold up. I, like many other Americans, have a high deductible Health Savings Account plan and I like it. These HSA plans are not specifically mentioned in HR 3200, however the House committees and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee give the HHS secretary broad authority to impose whatever plan mandates he or she wants on all plans in the Health Insurance Exchange. Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., offered an amendment in the House Energy and Commerce Committee that would protect peoples option to use HSAs. That amendment was defeated along party lines. Congressman Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., offered an amendment in the same committee that would have ensured that existing health plans could continue to provide coverage to its enrollees. That amendment was defeated as well. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., has stated on numerous occasions that he wants HSAs abolished.
Kennedy somehow tries to state that Wilson’s rudeness and the hissing and booing from other Republicans was tied to the paranoia that Richard Hofstadter wrote about 45 years ago. He doesn’t say anything about the left’s rudeness to President George W. Bush, especially during his 2005 State of the Union speech. I suppose that the Democrats were not paranoid and were correct in their rudeness. He states that "Paranoia isn’t a right-wing disease, but in this country the right has usually been equipped with the bigger megaphones.” I’m still trying to figure out which megaphones he is talking about. ABC which is in bed with Obama? NBC which is owned by GE and is getting rich off of “green technology”? Cute Katie at CBS? The New York Times? What are the “bigger megaphones” that Kennedy is talking about?
Kennedy is right, there does seem to be a real lack of civility in the U.S., especially in Washington. Besides the Democrats booing Bush at the 2005 State of the Union address, we have had Harry Reid stating the Bush was a liar and Nancy Pelosi calling the CIA liars. Neither one has apologized. John Kerry accused young American soldiers of going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night and terrorizing women and children, and John Murtha accused the Marines of going into houses and killing civilians in Haditha. Both of these allegations were proven false and neither of these men has offered an apology.
And last, Kennedy does the unthinkable, he pulls out the race card! Lately the left has done this when they can’t argue with facts. They just call you a racist. Kennedy states in a recent national poll that 25 percent of the nation refuses to believe that Obama was born in the U.S. This group of people is known as the “Birthers," and most on the right want nothing to do with them. Since we just had the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack we could also discuss the other lunatic fringe, the “9/11 Truthers." This group believes that Bush and the government either knew about or were behind the terrorists attacks on 9/11, and that Bush planned them so that the U.S. could go to war in the Middle East. A recent poll shows that roughly one-third of Americans believe this. The majority of these people are on the left. Can we agree that there are lunatics on both sides and not lump all on the right as being “Birthers” and those on the left as being “Truthers”?
Kennedy states that the grassroots ground swelling (he called it orchestrated) of opposition at last month’s town halls was evidence of this racism. He questions why else would there be caricatures of monkeys and pictures of Hitler at the town hall meetings and the tea parties? I think what he meant to say there was caricatures of Obama, because directly above Kennedy’s article is a political cartoon with a caricature of Obama. Caricatures are drawings that point out and exaggerate one’s features. A caricature of Jay Leno would point out his big chin. One of Bob Hope would exaggerate his nose. In Obama’s case the caricature pointed out the size of his ears in relation to his head size. I didn’t think it made him look like a monkey, but apparently Kennedy did. Underneath the caricature were the words, “With ears like that you think that you’d be listening."
It seems that no one can disagree with this president on anything without being called a racist. The people at the town halls and the tea parties are very concerned about the direction their country is going in, not because there is a black president in the White House, but because they disagree with his policies. They don’t want government health care (just what has the government done well?), and they are tired of the bank bailouts, auto bailouts, TARP, the stimulus bill, cap and trade and the more than 30 czars that have enormous power without any congressional oversight. They want the freedom and liberty to be able to live their life as they see fit, and that includes their health care. They understand that there is going to be a time when we can’t even pay the interest on the debt. They want answers to their questions. Do you actually believe that $50 billion can be saved by cutting out fraud in Medicare? Why isn’t it being cut out right now? After all, the program is going bankrupt!
Kennedy “googled” Wilson to find out he is a 62-year-old real estate lawyer, a native of South Carolina, a Presbyterian, father of four, and oh yea, his real name isn’t Joseph, it’s Addison Graves. To save Kennedy the time on “googling” me, I’ll do it for him. I am a 50-year-old white, self-employed dentist and I pay over $100,000 personally to the federal government in taxes each year. I am wealthy enough to be able to live in any neighborhood or school district I want or send my children to any private school that I would choose. However, my wife and I decided to live in a diverse school district, both economically and racially. My kids were the minority at their high school, 60 percent being African-American. They saw the good, the bad and the ugly. They had African-Americans as their baby sitters, friends and classmates. Currently one of my children has an African-American as a roommate and the other one is dating an African-American. We talk the talk and walk the walk. Disagreeing with the president doesn’t make you a racist.