Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Nevada Compromise

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

And they say that Republicans are the racists always playing the race card?


However, it's certainly not as amazing as Senator Harry Reid's (D-NV) comments comparing the health care resistance from Republicans and conservatives on Capitol Hill (namely, to the universal health care option) to prior legislative resistance to slavery years ago.

Those mean-ol' Republicans, always trying to keep the moral directives of history down, Reid would argue from the Floor. That same spirit from the Republicans and conservatives now (a universal sentiment coming from more Americans daily, it must be noted) is akin to the anti-abolitionist movement in pre-Civil War America.

Ironic that Senator Reid would say such a thing, considering history - and current times.

Did the irony ever hit the Senate Leader that the faction attempting to hold back the passage of slavery-limiting and -ending legislation (to the point of dividing the country legislatively, then literally, for several years) were not those "mean ol' Republicans" but were, in fact, his political forefathers? Such a statement from Reid shows a political willingness to paint such a complex issue (i.e., health care reform) into a corner where the sides are only black and white - not bad for the leader of a political party that has manipulated the social fabric every November with catcalls of racism and separatism against their opponents for the greedy purpose of gaining electoral victories with the hopes that a Rush Limbaugh comment here or there would seemingly valid their political poison. A decision to demonize opponents on such an important issue would only seem to promote the view that Reid, Pelosi, and others pushing this type of health care reform see this imitative more as a must-win political battle (to "keep hope - and change - alive", to paraphrase two historical Democratic presidential candidates simultaneously) instead of a problem requiring the best and most comprehensive solutions possible regardless of political origin or affiliation.

In referring us back to the days of the Kansas-Nebraska Act (which repealed the Missouri Compromise) led by Democrats to uphold slavery, Mr. Reid has instituted the Nevada Compromise - a move designed to compromise an increasingly-fragile nation's psyche through throwing verbal bombshells intended to push folks into an "us-vs.them" situation through some "winners take all" dysfunctional and misguided prism that many congressional leaders are seeing the health care debate through. Although, it must be said - after witnessing the arm-twisting by Reid to get apprehensive senators to vote with Reid for cloture earlier in November, it is no surprise that the "hope and change in Washington" that people voted for November 2008 was officially given a half-Nelson through brow-beating Nelson and others to get to 60 votes. Reid's Nevada Compromise is the next step in compromising the best long-term solution for health care that Americans need and deserve for the self-serving needs of Democratic leaders that have squandered their supermajority status with misguided legislation, inappropriate spending, and negative economic results that now need a "win" to stave off an electoral repeat of 1994.

I'm sure that the Senate - and Nevada as well - is wondering if that is the type of focus from leadership we need on Capitol Hill as 2010 rolls in.

Incorrectly, Reid - along with other left-leaning politicos - tries to demonize conservatives' objections to their health care proposals by comparing this to the slavery debate, notably saying that there are only 2 sides to this current issue: for health care reform with a public option or against health care reform overall. Sadly, the Nevada Compromise has no true "compromise" incorporated into it at all aside from the compromise of America's ability to get the best from both sides of the political aisle in this all-important debate. Health care reform is not a black-or-white issue as slavery was. Republican proposals to allow portability, encourage insurance competition, cover the poorest of our society (while pushing for lower costs for others), reevaluating regulations that skyrocket drug pricing, and disavowing the Democrats' mandate for private health care coverage (at the risk of fees and penalties) represent the grey area that Reid and others hope that Americans forget about. Even conservative Democrats have issues with the proposals that Reid, Pelosi, and others have advocated, most notably the issue of government-issued abortions at-will (i.e., pro-choice abortions, not per-crisis abortions) in one of the few common ground items that both Democrats and Republicans have been able to find, much in contradiction to the terms of the chief conspirator of the Nevada Compromise. Rather than compromise a personal and political preference to get an American result, Reid would rather compromise America's decency to expose raw emotion in an attempt to gain a political advantage with moderates and minorities.

Further, it's interesting that Senate Leader Reid is so concerned about the historical plight and current feelings of Black America, considering the dangerous unemployment levels among African-Americans coupled with the years-long issues of Black-on-Black crime, Black youth educational issues, and Black health care discrepancies are issues that he has been silent on despite his willingness to find legislative inspiration from the Republican-led efforts to end slavery.

I wonder if President Obama shares Reid's belief that this legislative endeavor is akin to the debates of the early-to-mid 1800s. Further, I wonder if Reid's statement reflects a common ground between the men on their concern for Black America in these dark times.

If the president's responses to the Congressional Black Caucus and others on specific focus on Black unemployment, Black education (DC vouchers and HBCUs - historically Black colleges and universities), and Black crime are any indication, it's clear that Reid's comments have nothing to do with their caring nature and much to do about their conniving political aspirations.

Reid's comments - and Obama's previous comments and actions to do little to specifically address the plights of Black America in crisis as the first Black president - serve as yet another episode that shows Black America and others that Democrats are more than willing to pimp out Black history and African-American emotionalism for their own self-serving interests without any desire or effort to provide an avenue for long-term prosperity, safety, and development for Black America. Since the election of the first post-racial president, this administration and the leadership of the supermajority has shown a toxic and divisive willingness to cry out calls of racism on a plethora of issues ranging from tea party protests to the extreme spending in Washington to the opposition to 2,000-page legislative overkill parading as health care reform. Knowing that racism has yet to make its way completely through the American system, Reid and others hold out for the residual racist sentiments clinging in our nation to rear their collective presence, willfully compromising the gains of the past 50 years racially and socially in America to create a "us vs them" mantra that may allow them to win in the short term on passage of legislation, but serves to wreck the nation's good will and possibly take race relations and tensions back decades in the process. Evidence of this occurring may be seen in the spike of Black unemployment in these times (where Black men with college degrees are twice as likely to be unemployed as their White counterparts as recent studies have found) and various reports of increased racial tension in many parts of the nation despite the presence of the Obamas in the White House. The good racial direction set by King and others generations ago found its apex in the election of Obama, Patrick (in Massachusetts), and others this decade, but those historical accomplishments have been compromised over the past months by a disrespectful disdain for responsible leadership and deference to history led by opportunists that have personally won while Americans everywhere continue to lose.

Harry Reid's Nevada Compromise may not have ceded land as did the slavery-inspired statements did in the 1800s, but his statements from the Senate Floor this week served to draw the same types of lines in a hypocritical claim to history, especially in line of how this bill will impact average Americans and how his leadership- along with the leadership of President Obama and Speaker Pelosi - have failed Black people throughout 2009 even as their supporters continue to pull the race card and brandish racial feelings in America like a 6-year-old with a machine gun. At this point, the Nevada Compromise cannot be the line in the sand dividing Americans on health care reform in a black-or-white fashion towards an issue with many grey areas. It's time for Reid's debacle to serve as confirmation that current Democratic leadership will do anything and say anything to win legislatively, leaving all else be damned - including a respect and understanding for history and a people used as political props in the process for their political gain.

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