By now you’ve all probably heard about Rep. Barney Frank’s response to a protester at a town hall meeting on health care.
Just in case you have not actually seen it though, click here. Thank you, Youtube.
Frank has earned some major respect points from The Big Lipowsky for this. Nazi comparisons have been used in many anti-Israel protests and now to compare Obama to Hitler? Unless millions of people are being loaded into ovens or soldiers are rounding up entire ethnic groups for deportation (and worse), then Nazi comparisons have no place in civilized debate. Opponents of Obama’s health-care plan may have some valid points, but there is no way it could come close to comparing to the horrors of the Holocaust. Those who would attempt to create moral equivalence between the two must be, as Frank eloquently put it, living on another planet.
Kudos, Barney. Kudos.
On a related note, Huffington Post had this video yesterday of an Israeli man in Las Vegas describing his experience with the American health-care system and the merits of Israel’s nationalized system. In response, a woman — wearing an IDF tshirt no less — shouts “Heil Hitler!” and in a demonstration of her maturity start going “waah waah waah.”
Debate is good. Discussing the pros and cons of health-care reform is good. When the debate descends into nothing more than verbal abuse and conspiracy theories, it is a sign that we are on the wrong track. Nothing good will come of this. All this does is show the world that Americans cannot have civil discourse. It is embarrassing to see people like this woman in the IDF tshirt and the woman with the Obama-Hitler picture. They have not learned how to express themselves without debasing others.
Last week, U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman of New Jersey’s ninth district held a series of town meetings on health-care reform. Like Frank, he was met with insults and jeers from people who apparently knew no other way of expressing themselves. Unfortunately, there is likely to be much more of this type of behavior as the reform debate continues.