I had a busy weekend of poetry shows and a trip yesterday with a friend to Milledgeville, Georgia, to visit Flannery O'Connor's home, so I missed nearly everything that was going on. The bizarre right wing attack on a kid who was hurt and benefited from SCHIP has really caught my attention this morning though.
When is it going to sink in to the average American - not to mention TV producers who book these loonies on their shows - that these right wing pundits are vicious smear artists? I'm thinking back to the craziness that's been spewed about Cindy Sheehan, Michael J. Fox, women widowed by 9/11, soldiers who speak out against the war, not to mention the eternal bugaboos of the right like George Soros, and all I see is a list of private citizens with opinions on issues who get tarred and feathered by the GOP's own brownshirts.
Do liberals hate George Bush? Many do, it's true, but then again, he's a public official in charge of policy issues that affect us all. We're supposed to have opinions about what he does; that's the basis of this form of government that the founders gifted to us.
When authors, columnists, and television personalities go after law abiding private citizens because they dare to voice their opinions, it pulls away the whole facade of the idiocy that our "public debate" has become in this country. Here we have a kid who got hurt whose family wasn't bankrupted because of a sensible health care policy. There we have an actor with Parkinson's who just might have a few thoughts on cutting edge medical approaches to his disease. And over there is a mom whose life was shattered when her son died in Iraq.
Are these people, and their process of speaking out, the worst elements of America, or the best? Why do we tolerate the kinds of public beatings that these idiot commentators routinely dole out?