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Children in the Government

Obama's health care speech yesterday night made clear something depressing about the current state of U.S. politics - we have children in our government and they are acting very childishly. Consider first his point about the "death panels".

It reminds me of children on a schoolyard playground. Somebody makes up a bogus rumor about some other kid; some popular kid with social authority starts acting like it's true, and before you know it, the falsity has become an accepted fact on the playground.

And then there is the now infamous heckling incident...

This guy (Joe Wilson) is like a child who can't sit still for an extended period without causing a scene. He is the kid whose mom is embarrassed to bring him to church or to a restaurant because she knows he will act embarrassingly obnoxious. He is the child who has no respect for adults because he thinks everything they say and do is wrong. He makes a meaningless apology because his mom says he can't have any dessert if he doesn't.

There is nothing wrong with engaging in good debate on these issues. There is something wrong with acting like children on a playground. When I was in high school, I knew a guy who was on the opposite end of the political spectrum as me. We couldn't agree on anything. But I enjoyed having lunch with him, talking to him in the hallway, because he actually had smart things to say, intelligent responses to arguments, and he actually considered the opposing view. This is in contrast to most of the other 15 year-olds, at the time, whose political beliefs stemmed from what their parents told them to think. They too, acted like children, and it was not easy or constructive to have a political conversation with them.


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