Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Uncivil Discourse

I am outraged at the conduct of some of the people at what are intended as informative town hall style meetings held by our senators and representatives during their "vacation" from Washington. Those who attend to learn about the proposed plans for health care reform and ask questions may as well stay home. Only the person who can shout the loudest will have the floor and no one will learn a thing.

These red-faced, arrogant idiots ride roughshod over everyone else in the apparent belief that their opinion, right or wrong, is all that's important. The other taxpaying citizens in the room don't even exist for them, even if they happen to agree with that particular view. Meanwhile, the shouters are the feature of media reports about the meetings in lieu of anything constructive because reporters can't learn anything either.

For many years my self-employed husband and I paid ever-increasing health insurance premiums for ever-decreasing coverage, and I fought with our insurance company many times - sometimes successfully because I was polite but persistent. The last few years we've been on Medicare and a supplement and happily so. Heavens, a government-run health insurance program! We chose our own doctors and hospitals and enjoy excellent care. The scare tactics of people who obviously have employer-paid health insurance don't bother us at all.

I had thought that I would attend if a town hall meeting were held in our area, but after seeing such travesties on television and reading about them, I won't go. I would want to learn something and that obviously wouldn't be in the cards.

Whatever happened to civil discourse? People seem to make up their minds by listening to the most ill-informed, biased, so-called expert they can find and then refuse to listen to reason. We've become a nation of "sides" with nobody willing to discuss, listen to another viewpoint, compromise, or negotiate to achieve a common ground.

When I have a strong opinion about government policy or programs, which is often, I write or call my senator or representative or even the president. If I'm angry, I say so, but keep my comments reasonable. I usually get an explanatory messsage in reply. Don't these shouting boors realize no one ever listens to them? Their way guarantees that they won't get their point across. Unfortunately they may also manage to keep needed reform from being passed.

I can only hope civil discourse will come back into vogue in my lifetime, but I won't hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

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