Marquette Wire

OVBIAGELE: Health care reform: Civility is no paradox

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Emil

For Rep. Joe Wilson (R – S.C.), decorum is an overrated attribute.

The congressman shouted at President Barack Obama earlier in September when the commander in chief addressed a joint session of congress about health care reform.

“You lie,” were the congressman’s exact words to the president (college football is in season, beware of fanatics).

Since summer, the rest of the world has looked on America with intrigue and delight as they pillow-beat one another into submission about health care reform.

The leaders, the intellectuals, the conservatives, the liberals, and of course boot lickers of political TV shows have added color to this epic soap opera — the writers of “Days of Our Lives” might consider a story revamp now.

The variety of contributors has shown the true depiction of the democratic process, as everyone is hashing out the health care reform debate.

With arguments and counter arguments bombarding the airwaves, there has been no shortage of diverse opinions, although one might question the sanity of some — “What the heck! It’s freedom of speech, who said it has to make sense?”

But as people enjoy the dividends of “free speech,” some opponents of universal health care have been disgustingly ostentatious in their show of passion.

Respect for authority and civilized behaviors have been traded for bold dimwittedness and murky tenor.

In order to move forward and make notable strides on health care reform, Americans have to embrace civility, dispel myths and weigh into the debates with reason rather than emotions.

To understand the health care debate more and participate in this policy showdown more effectively, we must remember the following things:

Knowledge is power, not luxury. If you seek to be a viable voice rather than a worthless noisemaker, I suggest you take time off to at least read one of the proposals.

With so many recommendations, it is almost impossible to read and comprehend all of them.

But at least make an effort to be knowledgeable — it saves you a Miss Teen USA moment.

Take control. Acknowledge the fact that this is your issue; it is too important to be left in the hands of anyone but you.

Keith Olbermann and Glenn Beck don’t deserve to toy with your intellect.

Use a bottom to top methodology in formulating your opinion.

Take time out to reason out your stances with the tools of factuality rather than letting your views be solely determined by the thumb-pummeled TV remote control — if only inanimate objects could cry out.

Communicate and don’t yell. Communication involves talking with people and not talking at them.

Talking with someone requires patience and takes two — that means listening too.

We can only enjoy the joys of diversity of opinion if we listen to them in the first place — this is not “The Jerry Springer Show.”

Moreover, you learn nothing when you talk.

Have some manners. It is the 21st century for crying out loud, yelling and making nonsensical statements is barbaric.

Gun-wielding citizens at town hall meetings, racially offensive caricatures depicting Barack Obama as a witch doctor and Hitler are wrong and should not be tolerated.

Regardless of your opinions and views, be you an ultra-liberal or an arch-conservative, the office of the president should and must be respected.

During the Bush days, I was equally angered when people made demeaning public attacks against the president.

Let’s debate the issues and not the man.

When we succumb to such lows, it detracts from our arguments and distracts us from the real issues at hand.

Health care reform is a heated issue — agreed.

But just like all sensitive issues, to make the right decisions we must seek to apply our voices of reason rather than act on raw emotions.

Like the musical artist The Dream said: “When you’re in love you never use the right side of your brain.”

Food for Thought: What we are trying to say is not half as important as the way and manner in which we say it.

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