Friday, August 7, 2009
I have been purposely avoiding any commentary on the Healthcare debate until I can gather all relevant facts (and there are a lot of damn facts to consider here) and form an opinion founded in reality and pragmatism rather than political ideology or spin. That being said, there is one facet of this debate that I would like to comment on right now: the debates.
All over America, the men and women of the U.S. Congress (both the House and the Senate) are hosting town hall meetings to listen to the voices of their constituents regarding the proposed Health Care reformation. This is good. This is what your tax dollars pay them to do: listen to the people who elected them into office and carry out their wishes in DC. This is what representative government is all about. The Supreme Court has ruled that political speech is the most highly protected form of Free Speech a citizen can make under the First Amendment. (see generally, Schenck v. United States, 249 U. S. 47 (1919); see also Yates v. United States, 354 U.S. 298 (1957)). The reason this is so is because in order for citizens in a representative government to effect change with their elected leaders, they must be allowed to speak freely about political issues.
So we're all in agreement that being able to speak about political issues (such as Health Care) is a good thing right? Great. Having established that point, there is something rather upsetting occurring at these so-called "town hall" meetings. Apparently some "unofficial" organizing has been taking place whereby people are actually going to these meetings not to debate the merits of Health Care reform, but to merely stop other people from talking about it. Now that's just down right un-American, damnit!
Voltaire is attributed with the famous quote "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." I think that captures the very essence of the First Amendment that we are SUPPOSED to believe in, right America? So I don't wanna hear anymore of this disrupting Health Care meetings business, ok? That's bullshit and you know it. If you feel passionately about Health Care then great, but you get to say your piece, and I get to say my piece, and that's how it works here in America, Jack. What you do not get to do is say your piece, and then try to suppress me when I go to say my piece. That's not how it works.
Follow the rules and don't make me smack you.