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In some ways, this will be yet another person's opinion about health care reform. However, I won't be speaking to the legislation that continues to be embattled before Congress. I want to look at it from a different lens: how and why our Elected Officials (yes, it's capitalized for a reason) are behaving and the impact their actions have.
I expect elementary school age children and pre-school children to not be able to manage their intense feelings. (After all, all feelings for these age groups are experienced intensely). I was really dismayed this morning when I was catching up on the news to see members of the House of Representatives addressing one another by name-calling. I'm referencing the "It's a Baby Killer" comment thrown out while Representative Bart Stupak had the floor. In an effort to save face, the delegate who said this (Representative Randy Neugebauer) was able to own his remarks. Taking responsibility was shocking, as Congress tends to shirk it more so than own it.
But back to the point, why did Rep. Neugebauer feel the need to shout such an epithet? He, and his fellow colleagues needed a major time out this past weekend. When did discourse become so personal? The aspirational goals of a Congress are to discuss matters concisely, clearly, and without emotion creating the entire argument. I felt like watching them this weekend on C-SPAN was like watching petulant children play without an adult to help manage them. I was waiting for someone to say, "I'm taking my Bill and going home."
I'm not making an argument for or against health care reform. I'm just saddened by the role models that surround us. Our elected officials are supposed to be representatives of the public. Is this how we as a society act? Could their behavior be a reflection on American culture? The more that I think about it, the answer seems to be yes. We have lost the ability to disagree civilly. We react by throwing tantrums, no matter what our age.
And in many cases, these tactics enable us to achieve instant gratification. Some of my colleagues might make the argument that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is more of a cultural creation in America as a response to technology, isolation, and the lack of delayed gratification. Speaking without thinking is a symptom of this disorder. That being said, I'm not trying to minimize the people that suffer from ADHD, either as children or adults. It is a real disorder, but its increased prevalence, especially in the US gives me pause to think.
I wish that I had concrete conclusions to draw from my thoughts. My only thing to offer is that perhaps we can learn from Congress, and watch what comes out of our mouths. You never know who might be listening.