We are better than this.
As a people we are better than the misguided, misled souls who shouted down a woman in a wheelchair at a town hall meeting last week.
In fact, we are a better people than the fevered town hall shriekers shouting down their congressmen and congresswomen with this silly season's particularly effective mix of selfishness and fear they heard on the radio and the television.
As a people we are braver than this. We are braver than to believe in an America capable of the evil a few of us somehow imagine. An America with death panels? Come on. We are smarter than this. We are.
As a people we are not so selfish as to turn out backs on the terrible stories of the uninsured Americans. We hear about their plight and we do not look away. We are not a dog-eat-dog America. We are not going to let 47 million Americans go without proper health care. Or 37 million or 27 million or 17 million or 7 million, no matter how the critics want to whittle down the numbers. We are not a people to look away.
And, we are not a people to get mired down in whether illegal immigrants can be treated in hospitals at our expense. (After all, they are the ones climbing all over your roof in the heat of summer putting on fresh tar paper and tile. Do you have any idea what that new roof would cost if you insisted on only American citizens doing the job? They take the risk, you keep the cash...) We won't be distracted from the desire to provide good health care for all Americans by such an obviously contrived rat trail.
We are better than the frightened Minnesota senator who thinks AmeriCorp could become a front for re-educating dissidents after liberal fascism takes over. Take a breath and just think about this idea a minute and tell me you don't think we are, as a people, better than this senator.
This will sound funny to say, but we are, as a people, better than our politicians, better than our rich and famous few, better than our Madoffs and our Palins, better than our shouters and talkers on television and radio, and way better than our Idol judges and Millionaire contestants and all the real housewives you can round up. We are, as a people, better than our politics and we are better than our popular culture. Our politics and our popular culture are quite often an embarrassment to us, as a people, the crazy uncle you hope doesn't show up for Thanksgiving this year.
We are not a nation of Dittoheads and Beckites and Madoffs. We are a strong, sensible, caring people.
PPS: We are, by the way, prouder and stronger than the few folks among us who worry their children will be turned into socialists by an American president speaking to them at school. Of all the silliness going around, this is the most surprising. Surely we are better than this. And surely we think more of our children. And just as surely, certainly, we think more of the president, even if he is a person of color who wants everyone to have health care, no matter where we think he was born.
I am worried about the president's speech tomorrow. Hidden cleverly near the end is this: "Don't be afraid to ask questions." Oh my, is this what we really want for our children? Oh my. Keep your children home, for heaven's sake.