It’s time for civility in the healthcare reform debate, especially from the intolerant left

The ongoing debate over the current White House health-care plan has been revealing an ugly dark side of the current administration. We now see that behind President Barack Obama’s soothing words and talk about ameliorating differences is a man and his allies who disdain their opponents and have little tolerance for freewheeling public debate.

More Information:

Here’s an opinion from the Colorado Springs Gazette:

We’re, quite frankly, shocked by the White House’s call for Americans to forward to the authorities any Web-based information about the health care plan they deem to be “fishy.”

It’s possible, maybe even probable the administration simply wants to identify misinformation about its health care reform proposal in order to effectively counter claims with the truth.

But it’s a troubling development any time any government invites citizens to inform on their neighbors. Remember the flap after the Bush administration proposed a program to encourage people to report “suspicious activity” that might involve terrorism?

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, accused the administration of compiling an enemies list, which isn’t an overstatement when you consider the chilling nature of what the White House is suggesting.

Our libertarian adviser, Tibor Machan, referred to this tactic as “Hugo-Chavez-style democracy” and found the Obama administration’s overall attitude toward protesters bizarre given that the president started out, after all, as a community organizer.

We’ve also been shocked by the Democratic response to the angry protesters at the various congressional Town Hall meetings pitching the administration’s government-heavy health-care plans.

Many people are justifiably angry and others are, as the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan wrote, terrified by the proposals.

Top Democrats have compared protesters to Nazis and Brown Shirts, even as their union allies have showed up in force to shout down Obama critics.

Democratic leaders and union officials have referred to the citizens as crazies, right-wing lunatics and tools of the Republican Party.

To be sure, shouting matches at public gatherings don’t accomplish anything, nor do they provide answers many of the people showed up to get. Audience members preventing speakers from saying their piece are just as despicable when they are from the right as they are when they are from the left, as is often the case when the speaker is a Republican, especially on college campuses.

The media haven’t been much better. CNN’s Political Editor Mark Preston said the contentiousness of the debate “befuddles the mind.”

It would be more befuddling if such an absurd plan would move forward without widespread public concern.

It’s unlikely that many health-care reform supporters even know what’s in the enormously long and complicated proposal. Most Americans have watched their current health care plans become more burdened by red tape and they have good reason to fear that Obamacare will result in higher taxes and less medical care.

The president portrayed himself as someone who would listen to the concerns of average Americans, but it’s clear that he is an ideologue who has little interest in hearing from anyone who doesn’t agree with his notions.

Health care is a life and death matter. It also is a major cost in each family’s budget. Given that, according to recent polls, 70 percent or more of Americans are generally satisfied with their own health care, it’s odd to expect them to roll the dice without demanding answers to the most obvious questions.

Many Democrats have been pulling out the “civility” card, by denouncing the members of the public who have gotten agitated at the Town Hall meetings.

Yet there’s absolutely nothing wrong with people expressing deep emotions on this subject, even though some of the protesters have — as always happens with emotional issues — gotten out of hand. Democrats are using their newfound concerns about “civility” as a way to shut up voices they don’t want to hear.

Fortunately, the health care reform is headed down a dead end.

This administration has been racking up deficits and debt, piled on top of the outrageous deficits of the previous administration.

To add even more costs, especially during troubled economic times, and to propose major reform of a system that works decently for most people is hard to fathom.

The unfathomable nature of the plan and the arrogance by which the administration is pushing it are the real reasons for the anger.

The administration needs to put an end to its thuggish tactics and listen to its critics for a change. In turn, critics must present their case in a calm, reasoned manner.

Gary Bauer points out some facts glossed over or forgotten by those on the left:

Today, the top two House Democrats – Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer – have an op-ed in USA Today on healthcare reform that is full of hype, hyperbole and outright misconceptions.

For example, consider this statement: “We believe it is healthy for such a historic effort to be subject to so much scrutiny and debate. The failure of past attempts is a reminder that health insurance reform is a defining moment in our nation’s history — it is well worth the time it takes to get it right.”

This is the crowd that rushed through a trillion-dollar stimulus bill without reading it.

These are the folks who added a 300-page amendment to the “cap and trade” energy tax just hours before the final vote.

Pelosi and Hoyer wanted to ram this massive thousand-plus-page healthcare reform bill through Congress in just a few weeks.

They mocked the legitimate concerns of constituents who asked them to read the bill. But now they tell us that they believe it is “well worth the time it takes to get it right.”

Even worse, Pelosi and Hoyer accuse fellow citizens who are speaking up at the town hall meetings of being “un-American” for “drowning out opposing views.”

Nancy Pelosi knows a thing or two about “drowning out opposing views.”

She has run the House of Representatives with an iron first, shutting down debate and repeatedly restricting the right of House Republicans to offer serious and substantive amendments.

Most recently, House Democrats banned Republicans from sending a mailing on healthcare reform to their constituents because they disagreed with the content.

But where was Pelosi and Hoyer’s outrage when union thugs attacked and hospitalized a black man, Kenneth Gladney, for opposing government-run healthcare? (Will hate crimes charges be filed?)

Where was the outrage of “tolerant liberals” when militant homosexuals attacked churches and senior citizens after the vote on Proposition 8?

Where was their outrage when Code Pink, ANSWER and the radical Left attacked our military recruiters and vandalized recruitment offices?

When it comes to denigrating the traditional institutions and individuals that comprise the core of this nation, there is little that liberal Democrats find “un-American.”

During the Iraq War we were told ad nauseam that protest and civil disobedience were the highest forms of patriotism.

It was okay for Harry Reid to publicly declare our war efforts lost.

Dick Durbin could compare our troops to concentration camp guards, and that was fine.

John Murtha could call our Marines cold-blooded killers, and never be held accountable for his slander.

Nancy Pelosi could accuse the CIA of routinely lying to Congress without a second thought about the repercussions on morale and national security.

By the way, Barack Obama’s political group, Organizing for America, is instructing leftwing activists to go to their congressman’s district office this month “to show our support for insurance reform.”

But you – the homeschooling mom, the concerned grandparent, the small businessman, the cop on the beat, the firefighter, the salesman – you are being “un-American” for daring to oppose socialized medicine.

You are “un-American” for doing exactly what the Left is doing – organizing and fighting for your values.

If there is a threat to freedom and civil discourse in this country – whether in the form of hate crimes legislation, the Fairness Doctrine, salary caps, White House requests to report on your neighbors’ political speech or socialized medicine – it is coming from the increasingly intolerant Left.

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