The urologist who put up a sign saying, “if you voted for Obama, go somewhere else,” got his information from the Internet and . . . wait for it . . . it was misinformation. We did not “misunderestimate” him (my favorite moment of the otherwise bleak Bush years). He was flat-out wrong.
The Internet is an amazing tool. It also must be viewed in its context. Opinions — informed, ill-informed and maliciously disinformative — are out there. It is up to each person to glean the facts, evaluate the sources and come to one’s own conclusion. Just because I can write an opinion that you might read doesn’t mean that I am right, that I have all of the facts or that, quite frankly, I am interested in the truth.
Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but that doesn’t mean that each opinion deserves equal weight. I spoke to a tea party goer about a year ago that heard on an unnamed “news” station (ok, FOX) that the health care bill would give social security benefits to illegal aliens. Ok, let’s set aside the fact that we are not talking about E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial, or Martians, and that they are humans deserving at least the catch-all phrase of “illegal immigrants”. I asked this woman if she ever dealt with the government. She asked me to get to my point. I responded that even if President Obama were seeking to give away the money in the Treasury (which he can’t because there is a 3 trillion dollar deficit), that the government needs a social security number to take any action with respect to a person’s benefits. So if someone doesn’t have a SSN (let’s assume that an illegal immigrant hasn’t stolen one because why impugn someone who is seeking a better life here, while there are native born executives of Enron and Madoff enterprises who have committed heinous crimes and haven’t yet had their days of reckoning), then it is impossible to give that person social security benefits. The commentator was either mistaken or intentionally misleading.
Ok, let’s be honest. MSNBC is slanted the other way and sometimes uses inductive reasoning — basing a hypothesis on one fact — and gets the whole analysis wrong. For me, sometimes, it is analogous to watching a show about law or maybe a doctor watching ER or Grey’s Anatomy. It strains credulity and sometimes is farcical.
However, when I realized that I paid more in 2009 taxes than most, non-celebrity, tea party-ers pay in two decades, I realized that I put my money where my mouth is. I believe in universal health care, medicare and a safety net for those like my grandparents who slept at night knowing that, if they lost their jobs in sweatshops, their children would not starve. As a child of those children — the embodiment of the American dream — I pay my taxes for those like my grandparents and my parents, and not for the ungrateful masses who are the tea-party-ers. Why? Because this is America, the greatest nation on Earth. But if you don’t want to buy in, that’s ok. But there are consequences. How about we mess with your medicare? Would you be partying then? I hope you get along with your neighbors because if I join your group, there won’t be money to pave the roads outside your homes. But because of my belief in America, and my indebtedness to my forebears, you get to be parasites sucking on the dream of America. To tell you the truth, I cannot wait to heave the yolk of your entitlement of my already heavy burden.
How about that? Let the generous, gentler and kinder America (thank you, Bush I) reclaim what is America. I live America — I work hard, I pay my taxes, I pray that the government is good, right and just, I do not believe in torture and I give charity to those who need help to jump start their lives. Yes, what Jesus would do. And I am a Jewish, lesbian, Ivy League educated, Northeastern elitist. And I embody the promise and opportunity of America more than most of the greedy, uncharitable, talking heads that pollute our airwaves.
Bring it on.