Thursday, August 6, 2009

August: The month apathy died in American politics

August brings a much needed break for legislators from the politics of Washington; except for this year. With a president attempting to solve Wall Street gluttony, climate change, energy independence, and health care reform. The Senate still has a few more days of work to perform before the August recess but House of Representatives have already headed home. Many Representatives are not finding a warm welcome upon their arrival.

At Farmfest Rep. Tim Waltz (D-MN) was challenged on the issue of health care as a “step toward communism” instead of addressing the issue Rep. Waltz took offense to the assertion by saying, “I didn’t spend 24 years in the military to be called a Communist, I can tell you that”(Star Tribune, 8/6/09). In a press release, on July 24, 2009, Rep. Walz “encouraged constituents to contact his office with their opinion about the health care reform debate in Congress.”

If Rep. Waltz is serious about constituents to contact his office, why does he become defensive when pressed on the issue of health care reform? Rep. Waltz is not the only Representative running into unfriendly receptions at town hall meetings. According to the Star Tribune, Democrats getting an earful on health care during recess, Rep. Keith Ellison “struggled for control of the microphone” and Rep. Betty McCollum “felt the wrath from both ends of the spectrum.”

At Rep. McCollum’s meeting at Highland Park a participant stated, “I don’t trust Democrats. I don’t trust conservatives, liberals, or politicians with my health care. I trust two people, that’s me and my doctor” (Star Tribune, 8/6/09). Similar words are being said across the nation at similar forums and Democrats finding it difficult in getting their message out. Some even feel that national groups, i.e. Freedom Works, are “planting” disruptors at these town hall meetings. Is this paranoia on the part of the Democrats? Perhaps!

“There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain mails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov” is written on the White House’s webpage (www.whitehouse.gov/blog/Facts-Are-Stubborn-Things/). Things that seem fishy is an interesting choice of words.

Are the Democrats attempting to make full use of the Patriot Act to remove any opposition voice to government takeover of health care? While a lot of disinformation is being floated around the viral net, on both sides of the aisle, it will be up to each party to re-inform the populous. Having fellow citizens rat each other out borders on tactics utilized during Nazi Germany. Do not succumb to the pressure of the White House.

We all agree that reform is needed. A group of Senators, bipartisan, have crafted a compromise which include tax your health care benefits and not having a public option. Whether you agree with this compromise or not, get out there and participate. Have your voice heard no matter if agree or disagree with the one sticky point in bill going through Congress of the public option.

Minnesota is in full county fair time. That will be just one location to meet and greet your representatives. Another location will be busy with political buzz is the Minnesota State Fair. Many shunned the Tea Parties earlier this year because it was viewed as wealthy white persons getting together. I was at the Tea Party, which I blogged on, at the Minnesota state capitol and observed first hand that it was not a group of angry, white, wealthy men.

Apathy is not the answer to what is going on in Washington D.C. President Obama is hoping that apathy, which has plagued America for decades, continues as he transforms America from a Capitalistic society to one of bigger government, more taxes, and less freedom. Show the politicians that Americans are not apathetic to their actions. Get out to your county fair, to the state fair, and any forum in which politicians are at and make your voice heard.