The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Voters should put an end to partisan invective

With passage by the House of Representatives last Sunday and President Obama’s signature yesterday, the health care reform bill finally became law, ending months of partisan vitriol. The end of the debate came none too soon.

In the final hours before passage, Representative Randy Neugebauer, a Republican from Lubbock, put a final cherry on top of the sundae of invective we’ve been subjected to for so long. As Bart Stupak, the Michigan Democrat whose opposition to abortion nearly derailed the bill, spoke on the floor, Neugebauer shouted out, “Baby killer.” Texans should be so proud.

Of course, Neugebauer later apologized to Stupak and said he was referring to the bill itself and not his colleague from Michigan. Whether or not this is true, his outburst was still shameful; there are lots of complaints to be had with Congress and its laws, but infanticide is not one of them.

Neugebauer’s remark wasn’t an isolated incident; over the past year or so, hate-filled rhetoric has become increasingly prevalent around the country. In the debate over health care reform alone we were treated to armed protesters showing up at town hall meetings, Sarah Palin’s accusations of impending “death panels” and Harry Reid’s dismissal of protesters as “evil-mongers.”

Other incidents have marred our civil discourse in the past year. Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted, “You lie” during a speech by Obama to the joint chambers of Congress. Many criticized Samuel Alito for mouthing, “not true” when Obama blasted a Supreme Court decision in his most recent State of the Union, although I give Alito credit for saying it under his breath rather than interrupting the speech as Wilson would have done. I was more disheartened by the way in which Obama took direct aim at the court from the bully pulpit while the justices had to sit there and silently take it.

But the award for most offensive comment has to go to Reid, who has been quoted as saying privately during the last presidential election that voters would accept Obama because he is “light-skinned” and speaks “with no Negro dialect.” Oops.

Voters shouldn’t stand for this kind of thing anymore. Incivility has become the most pervasive political problem around the country. It infects all branches of government and leads to polarization and posturing.

The only way to change the culture of partisanship that’s befallen this country is to stand up to its demagogues. We can no longer elect men and women so insensitive that they’ll stand up and shout at the president while he addresses Congress. It’s that kind of rhetoric—from both parties—that has prevented real progress. Voters in South Carolina, Texas and Reid’s home state of Nevada should take the November elections to show they won’t reward this kind of behavior. Around the country, we must say as one, “Enough is enough.”

 

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