I was up in the middle of last night Twittering. Twittering at 2:00 am. But I couldn't sleep for some unknown reason. Lots of other folks are up Twittering at 2:00 am, too. Many are from Europe, where it's actually morning. And a few are my very favorite late night friends from Malaysia, China and Cambodia.
But the tone and tenor of last night's conversations were vastly different. Far to much of the communication was angry or bitter or sarcastic. Health care debate has entered the Twitterverse full force.
Most distressing to me, in both the Twitterverse and the Blogosphere, is the tendency to demonize opponents with nasty, often sexual, racial or ethnic slurs in place of any real discussion of issues and ideas. As a liberal and a Democrat I am most distressed because most of these slurs come from the left. As I witnessed a barrage of hate aimed at one particular conservative woman, I was deeply saddened. I kept thinking, "we liberals are supposed to be better than that."
The woman was attempting to engage in real discussion, raising genuine concerns. I never saw a single genuine factual response. I did see her vilified as "trailer trash" with other comments I'll chose not to repeat. It's sad.
Since I was up anyway, I watched cable news, switching between Glenn Beck and Rachel Maddow. That was a trip! How could two smart people look at exactly the same facts and arrive at such vastly different conclusions? Both, in effect, yelling "FIRE" at the top of their lungs.
I really like Rachel Maddow and I really dislike Glenn Beck. He is tough to watch and tougher to listen to. But I was appalled at Rachel's total inability and total unwillingness to even consider that someone else's concern was genuine. She decided, without benefit of any facts, that the "Brooks Brothers" protesters were bought and paid for by some corporate giant, secretly scripting every comment and busing in every protester. Then she actually REFUSED on air to meet with any of the protesters or to actually talk to them! Damn Rachel, You're Better Than That!!!
I have coffee with these "Brooks Brothers" protesters every morning of the week. You know, they just don't look like the picture on the left.
I've got terrible news for Rachel. They don't even know what "Brooks Brothers" is. They are (around here) mostly Democrats, mostly senior citizens, blacks as well as whites, mostly laborers, and just good folks.
They all like their current health care situation. They all like their current insurance options. They don't want that to change. At all.
They DO WANT the uninsured covered (universal health care), but they sure as hell don't want the government involved. They all want tort reform. They all want insurance to be transportable. Debt scares them. And the government scares them.
And now they are all really pissed off that they are being dissed, lectured, talked down to, and ignored by Barack Obama. Barack Obama yesterday told them, in effect, "to shut the hell up." Barack Obama has really made them angry.
Televisions endless replay of President Obama's speech isn't helping. Obama actually said, "I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them just to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess."
Barack Obama works for us, one man told me. How dare he think he is just too good to listen to us now?
I'll admit I was appalled at Obama's comments yesterday. I thought they were terribly unwise. I think the President is getting really bad advice. He came off as the arugula eating San Franciscan that accused Ohio residents of clinging to their guns and their bibles.
President Obama needs to listen to all Americans, not insult and ignore them. Or demonize them. Or, worst of all, scold them as foolish children, whose opinions don't matter.
My mother used to say, "You catch more flies with Honey than with Vinegar." If President Obama wants to win the Health Care Debate, he needs to remember that old adage.
What we've lost by waging a Health Care War, is an open exchange of ideas. My long post today SHOULD have been about the simple, elegant and logical approach to Health Care Reform offered yesterday from an unexpected source, Charles Krauthammer. Yep, Charles Krauthammer. It's worth reading. But in today's warfare environment, it will never be discussed, let alone considered.