Tuesday, October 6, 2009

GOP no longer pushing Grayson apology

Republican lawmakers are backing off a measure they drafted last week condemning Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) for statements he made regarding the GOP's plan for health care reform.

"Don't get sick," Grayson warned. "If you get sick...die quickly. That's right. The Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick."

Those are pretty strong words, but they pale in comparison when you look at the rhetoric conservatives have been throwing around in the debate. Some in the GOP have claimed that the Democratic Party's plan for reform would set up "death panels" that would be responsible for determining a person's worth to society, effectively sentencing the elderly and people with special needs to death because their health care would be a burden to the state.

Such statements are flat-out lies, but no member of Congress has been forced to apologize for saying them. Republicans last week, however, wanted Grayson to apologize for effectively saying the same thing about the GOP's plans for reform.

Realizing that passing such a resolution against Grayson would be near impossible without controlling Congress, Republicans this week stepped away from pushing the issue futher.

The rhetoric on both sides of the aisle has gotten too heated; both Democrats and Republicans need to ease up on the accusations. However, Grayson's comments weren't too far off: while Republicans don't WANT people to die, their plans for reform would do little to lower the number of people who die due to lacking coverage, currently estimated to be around 45,000 Americans per year.

Grayson is just as guilty as Republicans for trying to vilify the opposing party. However, Grayson's actions don't warrant an apology unless Republicans believe their actions do, too. And the actions of Alan Grayson certainly don't mirror those of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), who last month interrupted President Barack Obama during his speech to a joint session of Congress, calling him a liar during an event where decorum demands respect for the sitting commander in chief.

Wilson's actions violated longstanding tradition and respect; Grayson was on the House floor using time yielded to him. There is a difference, and there isn't any double standard by not forcing Grayson to apologize.

If you disagree, then you ought to ask the handful of conservative politicians who have said pretty much the same thing to apologize also.

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