Wednesday, October 07, 2009

It's About Time

Interesting, though not unexpected, article in today’s Washington Post. Minority groups have been curiously quiet so far in the health care debate, apparently because “they had been reluctant to make race and ethnicity a central issue because the topic is so controversial.”

"There are some people who would like to defeat this bill by tagging it to the issue of race," said Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

Are these organizations limited to addressing only issues of race, or more broad-based issues solely through the lens of race? This should have been an easy one for them. Minorities are disproportionately hurt by the current system because so many of them fall through the cracks. This is more due to class than to race. Still, it’s a matter of right and wrong. Is it in their organizational charters that they can’t stand up for something that will benefit their constituency just because it’s right, and just not promote it because they’re black. Or Hispanic. Or whatever other group you care to name?

Will some on the other side use their input to cast the debate in more racial tones? Almost certainly. That’s probably a good thing for reform advocates, as it will expose more of this demagoguery for exactly what it is: obstructionism without a factual leg to stand on.

As has been noted, I’m safely defined by contemporary standards as a liberal. I think health care reform is imperative, and I favor some form of a public option. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with every “liberal” or “progressive” organization because they’re right-thinking people with altruistic motives. Right is right. Get out in front of it, or quit asking people to think of you as leaders.

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