Dissent is not bigoted

Published 9:19 pm Monday, September 21, 2009

By now, we all have heard Rep. Joe Wilson’s accusation ringing from the television screen as he shocked Congress during President Barack Obama’s health care address. Everyone has their opinions, and for the most part, let’s just say they are not in Wilson’s favor.

When I turned on my trusty Fox News coverage at home today, I was at first shocked by former President Jimmy Carter’s response; then I realized I should have seen it coming. Why is it that when anyone — especially the typical wealthy, right-wing conservative white man clad in loafers and khakis with a tie around his neck and an economist sitting in his lap — disagrees with our president, the race card is instantly played?

This opposition is not a strain of the “southern flu”, a claim that wealthy Southerners cannot stand the idea of an African-American man running their country.

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How dare former President Carter put words in my mouth? Why does he think he speaks for me? I am by no means a racist; I was vehemently against Clinton just as much as I am still against Obama, and if it had been a Caucasian man with his policies in office, I would still feel the same way.

Why should my disagreement with someone on the issues automatically be assumed to be caused by the color of his skin? This fear tactic is offensive and is only used to make people feel like they cannot stand against someone, because that would make them racist.

This argument is stupid, and there is no evidence it is valid. Do not call someone racist, the lowest possible form of insult, because they disagree with a man’s health care plan.

Jimmy Carter stated earlier today that opposers, specifically Southerners, oppose Obama because we believe “that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this country.” If this were the case, why would we have an African-American man running the GOP? How convenient for people to so quickly excuse that fact.

Racism is not just a white problem. Remember the infamous Rev. Jeremiah Wright? He was Obama’s own pastor for 20 years, and if he was not a bigot — preaching “God damn America” and hatred of Jews and whites — then by all means let me step down from my soapbox.

Returning to Rep. Wilson’s remarks during the Presidents address to Congress, his comment was, in fact, just. The President was lying; if you do not believe me please feel free to check the facts for yourself.

Example number one: The President stated that no federal dollars would be used to fund abortions. In fact, the House bill would allow a “public option” to cover all abortions and would also permit federal subsidies to be used to purchase private insurance that covers all abortions.

Example number two: This new plan won’t add to the federal deficit, the president said. That’s false. This new plan would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit over the next 10 years. And that, my friends, is not from the mouths of these racist opposers, that is compliments of your own Congressional Budget Office.

This whole administration so far has left me agitated. I am entitled to disagree with someone when I believe that what he is doing is wrong. As a citizen of these United States, it is my right to vote in elections and support decisions that I feel benefit this country.

For all that Obama has overcome to get to the point where he is now is incredible, but making me feel like I cannot have a differing opinion because my skin is of a different color is ridiculous and disgraceful.

Meghan Brinkley

Suffolk