Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Congress Critter

Letter to the Editor, The Roanoke Times:

I was the first questioner at Congressman Tom Garrett’s Moneta town hall on May 9. I spoke about my father’s eight-year battle against cancer, and asked how he would have been able to afford coverage with a preexisting condition if the Republicans’ health care bill had been law at the time. The congressman in response told me about his own family’s struggle with cancer. It truly is tragic how many of us know the pain and heartbreak of this disease.

Unfortunately, the congressman did not answer my question. It was a familiar feeling for many of us at the town hall who asked questions the congressman didn’t care for. So, yes, as the evening went on I found myself booing, clapping, and even shouting. What the heck was wrong with me?

Well, for starters, our congressman just voted to take health care away from 24 million people. Frankly, I’m sick of hearing that the real issue here isn’t what Congress is doing that will actually affect peoples’ lives, but how people react to these terrifying, sickening developments. To reiterate: under the bill the congressman voted for, if my father had still been with us, he could have been charged hundreds of thousands of dollars more just because he had the misfortune to develop a brain tumor. I can’t be polite when thinking of that possibility. The congressman doesn’t get points because he delivers that view calmly or respectfully.

Voting to kick 24 million people off their health insurance to fund a tax credit for the rich deserves some heckling, as the editorial put it. (By the way, heckling is what one does at a comedy club; at an American political event, we refer to it as protest.) And if my untoward behavior gives even a single member of Congress pause before taking another life-threatening vote, by driving home just how personally and viscerally their actions affect us, I will wear the “childish” label as a badge of honor. We couldn’t set a better example for the next generation; and I know I made my father proud.

Mr Garrett is big on using the dismissive, "we can disagree without being disagreeable". Which is a basic truth, but it's not something anybody gets to use as an all-purpose shield to deflect any and all criticism.

Garrett is a radical rightwing Freedom Caucus Ayn Randian authoritarian Daddy State bozo. The policies he supports and the agenda he's trying to advance are dangerous - and I don't use that term lightly.

The letter writer stated it pretty well - it's not heckling; it's protest. Characterizing this protest as nothing but grousing and/or heckling is another dismissive and condescending tactic used by people who can't answer the criticism and have no intention of considering your opinion anyway.  

These meetings are not about the Daddy State solliciting our input. They're about giving us the opportunity to agree with decisions that have already been made (aka: running government like a business).

So, one of the main conclusions here is: Fuck Polite, and Fuck Decorum.

And fuck Going Along To Get Along - which, btw, is something guys like Garrett have been loudly proclaiming for 30 years.

What it comes down to, I think, is that in order to get to the meat of the policy protest, we first have to be ready to break thru the armored fog these guys are always trying to get us to think is a valid argument in their favor, when it's almost never anything but one Logical Fallacy or another.

And, as a quick little refresher: Know Your Logical Fallacies

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