Monday, June 2, 2014

A Little Honesty Might Help

While puttering around the house this weekend I found myself listening to a local conservative radio talk show. No surprise there. It is hard to find any liberal or moderate local commentary when you live in the hometown of Speaker John Boehner. Finding a liberal or moderate media outlet in this neck of the woods is like finding an African American at a Klan rally. But I digress…

The topic for the day’s “discussion” was the scandal at the VA…the host ranting about how the situation there was just another example of the incompetence of the federal government. And then he said this…

“Now we know what Obamacare will look like in the years to come.”

I was struck by the not only by the blatant dishonesty of statement but by the crass motivation behind it. This guy wasn’t interested in having a reasonable discussion about the VA and how we might right a terrible situation. This guy was only interested in riling up his conservative listeners and pumping up his ratings. His statement was as self serving as it was misleading.

The fact is. We don’t know what Obamacare will look like in the years to come. It could become a bureaucratic nightmare like the VA. Or it could become a wildly popular program like Medicare or the Prescription Drug program. Approach any senior, Democrat or Republican and tell them that you are going to do away with their Medicare benefits. Hell hath no fury!

The same disingenuous debate is now taking place over the return of Sgt. Bowe Bergdhal after being held captive for five years by the Taliban. Bergdhal has yet to touch American soil, yet to talk to his parents, yet to address the media; but the politicians are already forming ranks and the media only too happy to fan the flames. Why did Bergdhal leave his post? Why did we trade five high level Taliban insurgents for one army grunt? Why now? These are legitimate questions. But condemnation of the administration and proclamations that the transfer will set a dangerous precedent and endanger our national security are little more than election year politics at its worst. We will eventually find the truth. The inflammatory rhetoric only obscures our path.

Our society is fraught with serious problems. If we have any hope of solving them we must first engage in thoughtful debate. We might start by interjecting a modicum of honesty into the dialogue.

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