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Free Speech–According to the Tea Party Debate

Tampa, FL, September 12, 2011. The Republican Candidates Debate sponsored by the Tea Party. Were you able to see it? It was  a lively crowd in Tampa. Questions were asked by CNN top reporter Wolf Blitzer, members of the audience, and via satellite on large TV screens, Tea Party members across the nation. This was an American “open forum”–a Town Hall atmosphere–but with 8 candidates wanting to be heard and wanting to be asked every question so as to make their own voices heard among the crowded field.They were asked several questions which allowed some candidates to spar– Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, then Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, John Cain and Jon Huntsman.

To me, the importance of the event was marred by shouts of boo at Representative Ron Paul. He was repeating what someone else said–it was not his own opinion; however, some members of the audience apparently weren’t listening well and booed him so that he could hardly finish. THAT was more than in poor taste. It smacks of anarchy–the bullies are here again. And…when one of the candidates was asked about the Affordable Health Care Act, nicknamed “Obamacare”, and what would happen to a person if he or she was without insurance coverage–because it was their own decision not to have it and then became ill or was in an accident– would they be eligible for treatment at a hospital or a doctor’s office? Cries of “NO!” were heard in the audience!

What is this? Some members of the Tea Party would not allow another human being to be treated by a hospital or doctor? Unfathomable in these United States! Who are these people who booed and said NO! They are our fellow citizens–maybe your next door neighbor? Would that person come to your aid if you were in need? Or would he ask you if you had insurance?

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) said the churches should take care of some citizens…that he didn’t feel the governments should have any responsibility for us when it comes to maintaining ourselves. Who does he think “churches” are? They are people of religious persuasion who are caring, yes. To be taken advantage of because they ARE caring? No. Does this sound like a statement a person who cared about his fellow humans would say? I don’t think so. I agree with Rep. Paul on a few things, but not that one.

Consider this: a baby is born to a couple who decided to keep the baby even though they didn’t intend to have a baby at this time. (They could have aborted.) The baby is born with defects of some sort–a genetic disease perhaps, or orthopedic problems or any number of health-related issues. If the parents chose not to have insurance coverage, would this baby be left to the whims of fate? Would the baby be given the necessary operation or medicine available to cure, correct or to ease the condition? Did Rep. Paul mean that? It is rare to see pleas for help in donating money so that someone could have an operation or cancer treatment, as was before we had insurance coverages as we do today. Is that where he and some other Tea Party members would take us?

How far are we willing to let our citizens fail? And that is what we are talking about: failing as a people.  Didn’t we face these similar dilemmas and challenges at some time in the past 220 years?  The U.S. Constitution was approved on September 17, 1787.  It took 14 more years for the Bill of Rights to be approved and then ratified. On December 5, 1791 Virginia ratified the Bill of Rights with 10 of the 12 proposed amendments becoming part of the Constitution. As fate would have it–the First Amendment had been in third place.

We have faced many challenges in our short history.  This is a big challenge, yes; but not as big as this one: At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin was asked, “What have you wrought?”  He answered, “…a Republic, if you can keep it.”

Let’s keep it.

2:51 pm | Posted in First Amendment | Read More »

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