Health reform gets ugly and House Republicans get uglier

Marchaé Grair

I am rarely ashamed to be American, but behavior from certain Americans lately, especially those in opposition to health care reform, makes me remember why those rare occasions exist.

Those who voted for President Obama because he stood for reform and believe the Democrat-driven health care bill is a victory, are pleased for the most part. Those with pre-existing conditions should have full access to health care, and insurance companies should be obligated to spend a certain amount of their revenue on actual health care, instead of shameful perks for their employees.

There are still plenty of issues with the health care system that will exist beyond the new law, including the impracticality of mandating insurance coverage and the lack of reproduction rights featured in the legislation. However, the Obama Administration and the Democratic majority in Congress needed something to happen in their favor before appearing inactive to a population that will head to the polls this November.

House Republicans who voted against the bill could barely blink before they started to respond to the ruling. Many expected them to respond with disappointment and campaigns degrading the new law, but even the bluest Democrat could not predict their childish actions, similar to ill-behaved children who should be on punishment at recess.

To say the Republican response to the bill is childish may even be giving Republicans too much credit.

Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer shouted “baby killer” on the House floor in response to the health care bill, even though President Obama issued an executive order that maintains the standard that federal funding cannot be used for abortions.

House Republicans cheered on protestors who heckled Democrats walking to the health care debate. Two African-American congressmen were called the “N-word” and a spectator spit on one of those representatives. Representative Barney Frank was called homophobic slurs as he walked past other protestors.

Such actions have not been denounced publicly by Republicans and are encouraged by their silence on the matter.

The Republican Party needs a reminder of what decorum is and needs to pass that reminder on to its supporters. In a country that is supposed to nourish healthy debate, health care opposition has turned into a mud-slinging, hateful spectacle.

Protest signs comparing President Obama to Hitler and threatening the lives of health care supporters are not only ignorant, but border a dangerous line of free speech and insanity. The offices of many Democrats who are avid health care supporters have been vandalized with graffiti and bricks thrown through windows.

This assassination on the nation’s character must end. Disagreeing with legislation does not legitimize hate speech, vandalism or irrationality from legislators or protestors.

Former President George Bush’s presidency was full of contention, but I don’t remember people vandalizing property and breeching House decorum to express their dissatisfaction with the president.

Enough with the propaganda that insinuates the nation did not want this reform. A much more radical version of health care reform, universal health care, was one of the president’s main platform pieces in 2008, and he was elected in a race that was not remotely close.

I’m guessing a presidential election does not signify much.

Enough with those “going rogue” by masking their ignorance by defending their acts with party loyalty.

To put it bluntly, it’s time for Republicans to either put something better on the table or shut up. An immediate act to recall the new law will not provide answers to the American health care crisis unless Republicans start thinking about solutions, rather than sabotaging Democrats for future elections.

There is no room for this new form of scare tactics and fear mongering in a society that claims to be a democracy.

Shame on you, Republicans. Shame on you.

Marchaé Grair is a senior electronic media management major and columnist for The Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].