Patriots And Traitors

by James J. Devine

Whether one agrees or not with the direction and specifics of what Obama and congressional Democrats are seeking to do, these are the elected representatives of the people and it is worth noting that Republicans have begun a campaign of smear and scare to coincide with their oblique obstructionism.  As we celebrate Independence Day, it is fitting that we free our government from the irrelevant cackling of the opposition party and legalized system of bribery that is commonly called, ‘lobbying.’

It is not only dishonest to approach issues with such infantile tactics, but also disrespectful to those who fought to preserve and defend our representative democracy when elected officeholders who attempt to do what they promised during their campaign are portrayed as enemies of the state.  Unlike Obama’s predecessor, who campaigned against ‘nation building’ then set about on a mission of ‘regime change’ or called himself a ‘compassionate conservative’ and then authorized the torture of captives in American custody; this president is pursuing the policies he told us he would pursue.

Only the magnitude of the debacle left behind from Bush’s eight years of recklessness is greater than what we all heard before making a choice to put Obama in the White House.

Before we despair the surrender to socialism, it is probably a good idea to recognize that the US government has yet to acquire even one percent of the nation’s economic engines, despite bailouts and buying in the banking and auto manufacturing sectors.  Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly and Timothy McVeigh all have the same fundamental message and it is, “I hate any American government that tries to do good.”

The nation’s health system is in crisis, with 50 million uninsured Americans and another 75 million without adequate coverage (that’s 125 million of 300 million already being denied service and subject to barbaric “rationing”).  The principle at stake in the health debate is whether the government should guarantee treatment to all sick and injured Americans or whether insurance companies should be allowed to profit at the expense of suffering humans.

All the Republicans in Congress and just enough Democrats to really matter seem to be on the side of profits before people.

If Obama cannot achieve a bipartisan plan with a public option, then he should withdraw his proposal and replace it with the single-payer alternative. Then every Democrat in Congress who refuses to enact the legislation should by identified by Obama along with a vow to recruit a serious challenger in the next Democratic primary and campaign vigorously for the obstructionists’ defeat.

Democrats are willing to negotiate with the GOP but if no Republicans are coming to the table, then the open door should be shut, leaving them on the outside.  Any reluctant Democrats are welcome to join them, because on a national health system, an issue sought by every Democratic president since Harry Truman, it’s time to lead, follow or get out of the way.

Politicians who do not want to get on board with health policy have no business calling themselves Democrats, so progressive voters and President Obama have an obligation to hold them accountable.  God bless those Americans who cannot take care of themselves, and God bless the United States of America for having the integrity to live up to its standard of valuing every citizen.

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