There are two conversations that need to be had right now: one involves addressing what this health reform really is and what it doesn't do and how it empowers insurance and pharmaceutical companies at the expense of American taxpayers and the other involves addressing the zealous and bigoted Republicans, Tea Party Members, and the loons who read and watch Glenn Beck so that they can understand how America is run.
I would dare you to try and have both conversations in the same article or in the same conversation. If you can pull it off, congratulations--you have successfully pulled off a tightrope-balancing act of significant proportions.Such is the impact of polarization in society.
For the past week, congressmen have been receiving threats that come from the passage of health reform on Sunday. People like Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Rep. Tom Perreillo (D-VA) have been victims of rage from those who no doubt regularly attended Tea Party rallies and waved signs saying, "Don't Tread on Me," before health reform passed.
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was sent "white powder." Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) was faxed a "photograph of a noose" and Clyburn's "wife answered threatening phone calls at their home." And, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) (along with representatives like Clyburn) have been hearing protesters shout slurs at them all week (but for Frank that's nothing new; he's a favorite punching bag for the right wing in this country).
In an interview on "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" on Monday, March 22nd, Clyburn said in response to a question about whether Republicans who were cheering on angry and unruly protesters:
"the lawmakers who were cheering did so on the floor of the House. I saw at least a dozen lawmakers clapping as the people up in the gallery were trying to disrupt the proceedings of the House. Now, that is a violation of the decorum of the House. Now, I know some of my colleagues are saying, "Let's just move on." But, you know, we said the same thing back when we had the outburst [from Rep. Joe Wilson] when President Obama came to speak to a joint session and we wanted to just move on.
Now, at some point in time we are going to have to allow for the rules of the House to take hold and be adhered to. You can't just make up the rules as you would have them be and recognize whatever it is that you want to recognize. That we've got to bring a stop to.
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