The Healthcare Debate
There's lots of talk about the opposition to Obama's healthcare plan — calling it communist, assailing it as an elimination of human freedom. But honestly, where's the problem? Insurance companies have ethics panels that determine if end-of-life procedures are worth the cost. Republicans don't call those "death panels." Insurance companies limit which expensive medicines are available to their customers, but Republicans don't call that "health care rationing." Only Obama's plans get such inflammatory labels.
No, these folks are not really angry that the next time they apply for health insurance, a government program will also appear in the list of options. Are they angry that that their children can apply for government school grants as well as private grants? Are they appalled that if they apply for a business loan, they can apply to a mixture of government and private foundations? No.
The problem they have is with Obama himself, with the color of his skin. Everything in their cultural makeup tells them that they should not allow themselves to be ruled by a black man. That's the reason for the shouting and the spitting and the gun-toting. These people are still back in 1963, blocking school entrances. They've never given up, and even though the Obama election handed them the ultimate insult to their belief that white people are better, don't expect them to give up now.
Gun store owners will tell you that the reason why gun ownership has skyrocketed is the simple existence of a President Obama. And the day after someone in the mob finally takes his best shot, the others will cry in front of the cameras that the arsenals in their closets are in no way responsible for the dead president.
So what do we do about these vigilantes? Simple. What would we do about them if they were of Middle Eastern descent? What would we do if their leaders were named Mohammad and Jamal, rather than Bud and Joe? I'm sure America would be responding much more forcefully right now, if that were the case.
Before everyone forgets the craziness of the town hall meetings, let's be honest about just who these obnoxious people yelling at the speakers were. This was not a grassroots movement or a groundswell of mom-and-pop America.
We've seen these angry and frustrated folks and their intimidating tactics before: The mostly white, conservative, and close-minded crowd has been at the forefront of the anti-abortion protests, at countless anti-immigration gatherings, and anti-gay-marriage rallies. Now, these same people have morphed into the anti-tax movement and "tea party patriots" with the stated mission of attacking healthcare reform.
Leave it to the Republicans to exploit the current situation and put party politics before the health and well-being of millions of Americans. The GOP's goal is obstruction, blocking all meaningful reform, and then running against a "do nothing" Congress in 2010.
Nevada City, California
Regarding the NCAA sanctions placed upon the University of Memphis and its basketball program for their 2007-8 season:
Gertrude Stein said, "A Rose, is a rose, is a ruse." Shakespeare said, "Alas, poor Derrick." Seeing the handwriting on the wall, Coach Cal expeditiously departed!
What the University needs now is the services of something similar to 2 Chicks & a Broom to clean house.
Tim Sampson is a riot! I'd pick up the Flyer just to read his columns. And since the Flyer is the only paper I read, I'd say it is the best in town. Seriously, I don't know what I'd do without the it. Keep up the good work.
Rev. Donald G. Timmens
I swear if Tim Sampson doesn't stop writing about Sarah Palin soon, I'm going to assume he's secretly in love with her. Let her go, Tim. Let. Her. Go.
Correction: In the article "Cobblestone Concerns" (The Fly-by, August 20th issue), Sue Williams was identified as speaking on behalf of the Sierra Club. She was speaking for Friends for Our Riverfront.