Protesting, Health Care, & Invertebrates

Earlier this month, we enjoyed the 4,367th installment of Obama: Primetime!  In this latest episode, President Obama addressed his apparently “kryptonic” subject – health care reform.  His rhetoric was interesting (when he wasn’t being heckled, that is) predominantly because it was a textbook example of how to make it sound as if you intended to fail all along.  It seems that President Obama is going to have to settle for a health care bill that is a mere shell of what he wanted, but he must save face, so he now proclaimed that his public option isn’t really a big deal after all.  “To my comrades on the left, we can’t be Canada just yet.” 

But, I have a bigger question related to all of this: what role did the town hall fiascos play in Obama’s drastic change in tune?  Is he just too squeamish to allow any more finger-biting?  Is it just too dangerous to allow senior citizens to get that riled up given the horrible state of current health care in America?  Could be. 

This change in tune is taken by many to be a prime example of how powerful protesting, tea parties, and “town-halling” can be.  Perhaps this is the beginning of a new golden age for protesting?  Could be.     

On September 12th, over 1 million Americans marched on Washington to protest a mixed bag of things – health care, constitutional infringements, socialization of American government, and unfair tea taxes.  Axelrod claimed those Americans don’t represent the opinions of America.  Of course, he did have to comment, didn’t he?  Are they making an impact?  Could be.

The issue of protesting, town-halling, and throwing tea into the harbor seems a tricky one for me to get a handle on.  Does it work?  Should we do it?  Well, you could argue that the results speak for themselves and I think you (whoever you are) may be right.  But, it doesn’t necessarily follow that this is a good thing.  The effectiveness of protesting seems only to highlight the fact that we have elected invertebrates.

If politicians campaign on a specific set of values, get elected, and then proceed to change said set of values because people complain, he has demonstrated his lack of conviction and character.  Of course, the response by those who disagreed with his original position is rejoicing, but they must remember that invertebrates of different political parties will do the same thing.  In other words, those who protest Obama’s government-run health care ideas are happy that the public option seems dead in the water.  But, what happens when a Republican president backs off of abortion reform because people protest?

My point is that the effectiveness of protesting serves only to point out our biggest political problem – our leaders are spineless.  Our problem is not that people aren’t vocal enough; it’s that they vote for mealy-mouthed weenies or, more to the point, only mealy-mouthed weenies are running for office nowadays.  That being the case, perhaps our time would be better spent in educating and preparing a generation of young men who know the meaning of courage, honor, nobility, integrity, truth, charity, and leadership.  Anything less is just providing opportunity for our “leaders” to show how insincere and ineffective they are.

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