We have just witnessed the most powerful example of how the Great Divide in the current American political morass functions (to use a highly inappropriate term):
Millions of Democrats heard the President say tonight that his health care proposal would not replace their current health insurance plan. Instead, they would be protected from being dropped from coverage when they get sick or refused coverage because of pre-existing conditions. He said that he would attack waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid and save billions of dollars that could be better spent on real treatment for real problems.
Millions of Republicans heard the President say that they would be forced to drop their current coverage and dumped into inferior “government run health care.” They heard the President say that he would “cut Medicare by $500 billion, while doing virtually nothing to make the program better for our seniors.” South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson was so worked up, he yelled out that the President is a liar when Obama said that his proposal would not provide coverage for illegal immigrants. (Wilson later apologized after being called out by Senator John McCain.)
“America is great,” Ronald Reagan once mis-quoted Alexis de Tocqueville, “because America is good.” We have the opportunity to be both great and good once again, but only if we can seek the greater good by seeing each other, not as enemies, but as patriots, focused on forming a more perfect union, establishing justice, insuring domestic tranquility, providing for the common defense, and promoting the general welfare. Or we can just tear up that old Constitution and just let the mob rule.