Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Those of us who are self-appointed advocates -- who expend our efforts trying to persuade a few more people to our political point of view -- must sit back in slack-jawed wonder when the great American public makes one of its great roars, as we all have been hearing in town hall meetings across the country.
In the animal kingdom, it is the lion that has the loudest roar. Scientists say it is made as a warning to advertise the animal's presence. Are you listening, Washington? The current American public's roar certainly is being heard around the world. Consider the following lead from Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper a few days ago:
"It was a scene of breathtaking political theatre. Arlen Specter, the veteran Pennsylvania senator, stood in stony-faced shock as one of his constituents delivered a furious tirade just a few feet away. 'One day God is going to stand before you, and he's going to judge you and the rest of your damn cronies,' bellowed the senator's grey-bearded adversary in an encounter replayed countless times on American television. 'Then you will get your just desserts.' Minutes later, a woman prompted a standing ovation with her emotional outpouring. 'I don't believe this is just health care. This is about the systematic dismantling of this country,' she said, her voice quaking. 'I don't want this country turning into Russia, turning into a socialised country. What are you going to do to restore this country back to what our founders created, according to the Constitution?'"
Usually, for a nation's public opinion to be heard so far and wide, violence must be involved. Earlier this year, the people of Iran were heard -- but at the price of the government murdering its citizens, shooting demonstrators in the face and violently suppressing the crowds in its capital city. And voices were heard in Tiananmen Square in China in 1989.
But only in America does the political significance of a peaceful public voice reach such magnitude, because here we change power without violence. Yet the media and many Democratic congressional leaders have responded to this peaceful outpouring of passionate opinion by first claiming the crowds were hired by lobbyists. (So far, the only evidence of rent-a-mobs was a Craigslist ad offering up to $600 a week for pro-Obamacare demonstrators to turn up and demonstrate.)
Then, when it became obvious that no one can organize the size and the manifestly sincere passion of so many people (and the polls proved the public believed the people), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused those American people of being "un-American" and "carrying swastikas," while The Washington Post ran an article making fun of the unstylish clothes the people were wearing.
On Sunday, administration officials started backing away from their demand for a public insurance requirement. That's nice. But it is very possible that something much bigger is afoot. As the woman said at the town hall, "I don't believe this is just health care."
Bailouts to banks, huge stimulus payoffs to special interests, nationalization of auto companies, trillions in new debt, the ideological taxing of our great carbon energy supplies, unconscionable deficits stealing from our grandchildren, Washington talk of health rationing, forced abortions, compulsory sterilization, eugenics. Are you all Eurosocialists now? What the hell is going on in Washington?
Maybe, just maybe, the woman is right. Maybe the national roar is a cri de coeur from the heartland to the capital -- just the beginning of a national vomiting of alien ideas being shoved down the national throat by a left-wing Congress.
To those congressmen who oppose the horror: This is no time for timidity and compromise. Let your political courage match the passion of the people.
And to all the Washington politicians in Congress, advice from another generation's poet:
"Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'."
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