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Monday, August 10, 2009

President Obama is toeing legally defined lines in his support of a public option in health care. As many people already know, the White House has requested:

Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.
Setting aside references to 1984 or Fahrenheit 451, let's look purely at the consequences. At a recent town hall meeting in Georgia, Democratic Rep. David Scott verbally lashed one of his constituents who asked him a valid question on health care during an open question and answer period at the end of the meeting. Rep. Scott yelled:
I'm listening to my constituents, OK? These are people who live in the 13th Congressional district, who vote in this district. That’s who I’ve got to respond to…So what you’ve got to understand, those of you who are here, who have taken and came and hijacked this event we dealing with here, this is not a health care event.

You chose to come and to do it on your own. Not a single one of you had the decency to call my office and set up for a meeting. You want a meeting with me on health care, I'll give it to you!
The Obama administration has labeled U.S. citizens who attend town hall meetings and ask questions on health care "astroturf," meaning fake grassroots. The constituent in question is Dr. Brian Hill, a resident of the 13th district. Furthermore, he previously contacted the representative's office to schedule a meeting to discuss health care, but his request was never granted. Dr. Scott was all but denied his right to petition his elected official.

President Obama was elected to unify a divided country. Instead, his actions are turning the divided sides against each other. There is a parallel to this worsening situation. Ironically, it is the abolitionist movement of the early 1800's.

Abolitionists became too vocal on a controversial issue. As a result, no petition regarding the abolition of slavery was allowed to be read before Congress. Luckily, at the time, one congressman had the courage to stand up against this blatantly unconstitutional action: Congressman John Quincy Adams.

John Quincy Adams (post-presidency) stated before Congress:
The voice of Freedom has not yet been heard, and I am earnestly urged to speak in name. She will be trampled under foot if I do not, and I shall be trampled under foot if I do...What can I do?

The right of petition...is essential to the very existence of government; it is the right of the people over the Government; it is their right, and they may not be deprived of it.
John Quincy Adams has long been my hero. These quotes are excerpts from Joseph Wheelan's Mr. Adams's Last Crusade.

Before you respond angrily for comparing health care to the abolitionist movement, bear in mind that I am only comparing the consequences of government actions to suppress controversial speech. While the right to petition has not yet been repealed in this instance, it is most certainly being discouraged. Abolitionists did not have their rights repealed at once either.

Posted by Eleutherian

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