Get Un-American…

I promised myself that I was going to keep my peace on the healthcare debate; that I wouldn’t wade in and simply watch as the accusations and counteraccusations played out… and I’ve managed to keep it shut for a week, which may be a personal best record for me. The fact is that I’m not even sure if I need to be weighing in on this. Anyone who has checked in with any regularity knows where I’m going to fall on the subject. The issue that I’m most impassioned by isn’t the proposed healthcare plan at all, but rather that those who feel passionately about it and who speak out are labeled “un-American” by a Speaker of the House of Representatives.

There are crackpots everywhere. They control the far left of the Democratic party and the far right of the Republican party. They are everything from socialists to religio-fascists. But they have no less right to be heard than those of the silent majority who have remained relatively docile and have avoided staking out a position on either end of the political spectrum. The fact is, I think most of the country finds itself somewhere in the middle and tends to get embarrassed when the extremists on either side get too loud or gain to much press attention. Lord knows, I’m a proud conservative (at least on fiscal issues), but I cringe every time James Dobson or Dr. Laura show up with a microphone in front of their face. It infuriates me that they are the popular image of the American conservative, but I digress.

I like that the House website has nearly buckled under the strain of traffic that this debate has driven to it. I like that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle are taking their elected representatives to tasks on both side of the aisle. I like that the administration has been struggling mightily to regain control of the message and make its points. It’s all together right and proper that all sides make their points and that this storm blow long and hard across the land. It’s the very lifeblood of America and gives me the vaguest sense of hope that the country has not become too passive to take on the hard issues.

So yes, friends, we owe it to ourselves to do what is hard. Read the bills that are before Congress and tell your elected representative what you think, not what the talking heads on CNN of Fox tell you. Do your homework and get informed. And if that means I’m un-American, I guess I’ll be ok with that.

My name is Jeffrey D. Tharp and I approved this message.

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