Health care reform and Slavery: Opposition to Change

Published by Pamela Gentry on Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 12:01 am.

By Pamela Gentry, Senior Political Analyst

Dec. 7, 2009 – The Democrats must be getting close to reaching an agreement on health care reform if recent attacks on Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) are any indication. 

Reid has been pushing hard and increasing pressure on the Republicans who are opposed to health care reform only for the sake of being “opposed.”  On Monday Reid hit back – and hit back hard, he liken their objections to reform and sticking with the status quo to lawmakers who opposed ending slavery.

 “Instead of joining us on the right side of history, all the Republicans can come up with is, ‘Slow down, stop everything, let’s start over,’ Reid said.

Republican called the attacked harsh – and want an apology from the usually mild mannered soft spoken Senate majority leader.  I’m not sure why he should apologize or to whom.

Republicans called on their African-American mouthpiece Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele to rebut Reid’s comments. That poses a bit of irony since Steele’s election to that position was to give the GOP an African-American spokesman to oppose the first African-American president at every turn.

Steele said, “To suggest that passing this horrible bill is anything akin to ridding our country of slavery is terribly offensive and calls into question Mr. Reid’s suitability to lead.”  Steele called Reid’s comments “absurd and offensive.”

I disagree with Steele, Reid is leading.  He’s leading a fight for those who can’t.  Reid was simply saying Republican are acting like and displaying the same mindset of the folks who defended slavery because they were opposed to changing a system that created an economic stronghold for a privileged at the expense of those who were not.

“When this country belatedly recognized the wrongs of slavery, there were those who dug in their heels and said, ‘Slow down, it’s too early, things aren’t bad enough,’”  Reid said.

I get the comparison.  

Now Republicans are lining up to express their outrage over the comments; but what about their outrage over the 40 million Americans without health care?  

In a statement, Reid’s spokesman Jim Manley said, “Today’s feigned outrage is nothing but a ploy to distract from the fact they have no plan to lower the cost of healthcare, stop insurance-company abuses or protect Medicare.”

“And for those who are counting, Republicans have now held one press conference on manufactured anger and have issued one manual on how to grind the Senate to a halt — but have held zero press conferences and issued zero plans on how to help Americans afford to live a healthy life,” Manley pointed out.

Monday evening Reid didn’t let up.  The Nevada senator released a statement calling his opponents out again. “As we have seen again and again, these Republicans like to pretend America’s health care crisis isn’t a problem.  They choose to ignore the fact that unfair and unchecked insurance company policies are forcing the very people these Senators represent to lose their homes, file for bankruptcy and even die. “ 


It looks like Reid isn’t letting up on his colleague across the aisle.

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