The Pace Report
Last week both the House and Senate voted on what is deemed as one of the most important legislative measures since President Roosevelt’s Social Security and President Johnson’s Medicare program. In a 219-212 vote, the House Democrats in the last hours voted for President Barack Obama’s highly controversial health care bill that would add coverage to as many as 32 million additional Americans that don’t have or can’t afford the means to pay for it. The bill would allow parents to extend benefits to their children until their 26 years old. Also, allow them to choose the kinds of services and doctors provided they pay into a plan that would be mandatory for all citizens or be fined. The Obama administration has pushed his agenda on reformed medical care throughout his presidential campaign until last Sunday to mixed reviews.
Over the last week the dust has finally settled and we see both the G.O.P and the Democrats showing their true colors. As this is the year for mid-term elections for both branches of government; this past week has been a spectacle of divisive and childlike behavior that hasn’t set well with the public. Georgia Representative and civil rights icon John Lewis was on his way to vote for the bill and was spat on and called “nigger” by angry protestors that mobbed the front entrance of the House. Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts was also called a “faggot” and other epithets by tea party protestors both on the day of the vote and throughout the week via voicemail messages and letters. Congressman John Clyburn(SC) was faxed a picture of a noose and the incident is currently under investigation. Even Republican Senator Eric Cantor’s window was shot out by a protestor at his campaign office last week warranting the CIA and Capitol police to increase their presence to these high ranking elected officials.
The war of words by politicians and conservative media pundits like Senator John Bohner who at last week’s session hailed the bill as “Armageddon” and “will destroy private businesses and the working class!” Or, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh who stated on last Monday’s radio show: “we’ve gotta get these bastards out of Washington,” has added to the strain and negativity that’s keeping this country from moving forward. Anytime you cut the propane line of a congressman’s house because you disagree with someone’s political or religious views is taking measures to the extreme. Again, the right has taken fear, racism and “terrorist-like” actions to continue to divide and conquer as the country moves to have socialized medical care for millions of Americans that can’t afford this service. Yet, when the president continued to ask the G.O.P to bring some ideas to the table, Obama added some of their measures and they still voted no! Not one Republican vote.
It’s also interesting how the Tea Baggers have made a name for themselves for trying to sabotage the public with misinformation and blatant lies about the whole medical program. This was evident when Sarah Palin made those outlandish statements last summer that “President Obama added death panel” in his health plan. Also, how this group were also the creators and extremely vocal on the “birthers” debacle where they wanted to oust the President for not being a legal citizen. The Tea Baggers have been key in Senator Scott Brown’s landslide victory in the late Ted Kennedy’s vacant seat as well as raising close to a million dollars on-line to help oust Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi just a couple of days after the House voted on the health care bill.
With all of the negative press and declining numbers for returning Congressman and Senators on both sides of the coin, this year’s election proves to be a tough year for them. According to a USA Today poll conducted recently, “sixty-nine percent of the American people are dissatisfied with the way their congressional leaders are handling business in Washington.” A CNN Poll stated that “sixty-two percent of the representatives would probably not get re-elected.” It doesn’t stop there. Arizona Senator John McCain on Thursday brought his former 2008 Vice-President nominee Sarah Palin to a campaign rally in Tucson. The two have been at odds since the election and proves that McCain needed the former governor, who’s star power for the G.O.P is also diminishing, to boost his struggling numbers.
What the media hasn’t focused on since the bill has passed is this country is still sitting at 9.7% unemployment rate that continues to remain steady. Home mortgages are continuing to default a skyrocketing rate leaving the actual home rates to plummet. And we have a war still out of control in Iraq that’s seen a jump in fatalities in the last five months. A lot of the US’s business remains left undone and both sides are acting like kindergartners. This past week we’ve seen the real G.O.P and Tea Baggers show their colors. Their actions take this country back to the 1950’s and 60’s when blacks were fighting for basic civil rights. When African-Americans were beat and spit on for peaceful sit-ins and civil rights marches. When Congressman Frank and Lewis chose to vote based on their convictions, they were treated like those tens of thousands of people that helped fight for our human rights over 50 years ago. Last week was just the beginning of what the media and American is about to endure over the next seven months.
My biggest gripe is that I don’t see my generation stepping up to the plate in bringing change in Washington. I live in Harlem and feel Representative Charlie Rangle’s time is up. He’s been in office to long and hasn’t really connected to the “new Harlem” that exists. Plus, his ethics and character stemming from his tax problems have tainted his reputation as a defender of the people. The same with the old political machine that’s held this country back for so many years. The days of the old Kennedy, Lott, Rangle, McCain, Dodd machine and so many others have lost touch with those working class people who are about to lose their homes. The college graduate who’s working security because he or she can’t find a job in their area of study due to the shortage of jobs in the marketplace. In 2010 when jobs are scarce and the middle-class is dwindling, why wouldn’t you want to fix or attempt to fix America’s biggest nightmare? Medical coverage is a major necessity and this current administration took “the bulls by the horn” in trying to move this country forward on this issue. Something the past administrations kept patching up. For once laws will restrict the insurance companies for dumping coverage for those who’ve paid into a program that their entitled to. This new medical plan will open the floodgates on fair competition for all HMO’s and PPO’s and allow people to choose the kinds of medical plans at their expense.
Last week the signs were clear; America’s on the cusp of a drastic way we deal with medical care. But biggest picture is this country still has a race problem. A war of class and politics was let out of the bag by the Tea Baggers and the G.O.P. This is an issue that we as a people need to address before things get way out. Sending faxes of nooses and splitting propane lines to our elected officials is frightening and seems the country has resorted to the racist and terrorist ways used during the days of Reconstruction, Jim Crow and the civil rights movement. Unlike the change of desegregation and imposed civil rights laws passed by both the House and Senate, this change of health care is something everyone must get used to and deal with. Again, this ignorant phase in America too shall pass.
The Revolution Will Be Televised,
The Pace Report