Thursday, September 17, 2009

Let's Lose the "Race Card"

I am disheartened by the subtle and blatant racism that I see bubbling to the surface as reasonable and civil people attempt to debate solutions to the very serious issues we face in this country. And let's be clear here. As I noted in a recent article, when Sean Hannity espouses the view that "he's [President Obama] not one of us" and the birthers question whether or not President Obama is an American citizen, they endorse and encourage a subtle, insidious racism that ultimately is just as damaging as the blatantly racial slurs and signs we see and hear from the dumbed-down bigots that have been given a disproportionate voice in the current debates.

Having acknowledged that, it's time for Dems and progressives to put aside the "race card". While it is certainly a legitimate criticism of the attitudes and tactics of many on the right wing fringe, focusing our attention on this issue is a distraction that our opponents invite and fully use to their advantage to divert attention from what should be the real focus of our debate--our fragile and struggling economic system that continues to be significantly impacted by the exponential rise in health care costs and a broken healthcare system that fails to address the needs of all of our citizens.

It's time to put the "race card" back in the deck and play the "smart card". The facts speak for themselves and they fully support the position espoused by President Obama and his supporters. The current healthcare system is broke. Millions of our fellow citizens lack insurance and access to adequate health care and those of us with benefits should be mindful, particularly in the current economic climate, that we all face the risk of falling into that category. Thousands of Americans (including those with health insurance) each day file for bankruptcy precipitated by their inability to pay their medical bills. The impact of rising health care cost continues to impact the ability of corporate America to compete in a global economy and is crippling the small business sector. Many on the right and the center argue that we're moving too fast and it's foolhardy to tackle this issue at the same time that we're attempting to revive a fragile economy without fully comprehending that true health care reform is vital to the long term viability of our economy.

There exists in this nation an intelligent, rational, responsible and fair-minded majority that is ready and willing to support reasonable solutions to the serious problems we face. It's time to reject racism and the use of the "race card" and get on with a serious debate of how to solve the serious problems our nation faces.
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