"It is 2010, which means it is way past time for decent Americans to rise up against this kind of garbage, to fight it aggressively wherever it appears. And it is time for every American of good will to hold the Republican Party accountable for its role in tolerating, shielding and encouraging foul, mean-spirited and bigoted behavior in its ranks and among its strongest supporters."
-Bob Herbert, "An Absence of Class" NYT 3/22/2010
Dear Mr. President,
While we savor the victory of the successful passage of health care reform legislation, it is difficult to forget the ignorant, partisan, and, at times, downright hateful rhetoric of those who opposed it. As the media tells and retells the stories of congressman being called "baby killer" or slurred at and spat upon by protesters, and as I hear the misinformation my friends and coworkers are parroting from their conservative information sources, I look around in disbelief. Is this my country? How have so many become so divorced from reality? Members of the United States Congress booed their own President. All of this, the madness of the ads run by the GOP, the racist and borderline treasonous talk of the Tea Party, the complete amnesia with regard to the right's rants about criticizing the President during a time of war under the last administration; it seems endless. Our country is so fractured and I don't see how we can work with the other party when they condone and encourage this kind of behavior. Speaker Pelosi, for all of her faults, made the excellent point on the House floor yesterday about the bill containing 200 republican amendments. How much more bipartisanship is required?I have no problem with dissent, or with the informed, rational arguments against the legislation. I may respect some one even as we have philosophical and ideological differences, but this kind of childish behavior, this refusal to even hear arguments of opposition, it's not dissent, it isn't politics, it's downright absurd.
I will work as hard as I can to ensure that the GOP does not gain a majority in either house this November, but I am afraid for my country if this kind of behavior is rewarded by the voters. I know that political combativeness is not exactly the Democrat's forte, and you may do more to antagonize the right by riding above this behavior rather than stooping to respond to it. Still, it would be gratifying to see some aggressive opposition to the lies being perpetuated, to say nothing of the reprehensible way in which they are attacking Democrats for trying to govern at all.