Both Sides of the Fence

A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!

Trump trumps US Senate in upholding freedom

Democracy, Carrie Prejean, Donald Trump, US Senate, single payer health insurance


What do California beauty queen Carrie Prejean and activist pediatrician Margaret Flowers have in common, besides blonde hair and infectious smiles?

Both spoke ideas that others didn't want to hear.

Ms. Prejean had the temerity to tell judges at the Miss USA Pagent that she was brought up to believe marriage was between a man and a woman, period, and she was going to stick with that.

Dr. Flowers had the gall to want to tell the US Senate Finance Committee that she was trained to believe that patients, not corporate interests, should be first in America's health care system, and the single payer option needed to be included in the discussion about reform.

Ms. Prejean was luckier than Dr. Flowers, however. The ultimate judge in her quest for free speech was real estate mogul "You're Fired" Donald Trump. Trump decided that it's pretty damn silly to criticize beauty pagent contestants for trying to get attention with either their bodies or their ideas, because that's what it's all about. Those weren't his words, of course. But his edict "You're still hired" was a blow for democracy, however silly the setting.

Unfortunately for Dr. Flowers and the other single-payer advocates who tried to get recognized at a finance committee "public roundtable discussion" on health care May 5, their judge was US Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana), who ordered them arrested, handcuffed, and jailed. The same thing happened all over again a week later.

It's true, Ms. Prejean was invited to the pagaent, and Dr. Flowers and the others showed up as uninvited but peaceful protesters. The beauty pagaent winner was far more successful in  building publicity for her cause, which was herself and not her political stance, I think. Whether it's because she's prettier or because America cares more about celebrities than about healthcare, I don't want to think about.

But it's a sorry day when the US Senate makes Donald Trump look like the Pope and Thomas Paine, all rolled into one.

Like Ms. Prejean, I grew up with values I don't want to let go. One of the strongest is belief in free speech and democracy, in a government of the people, not the insurance companies. People shouldn't be arrested, ejected, or ridiculed for saying courteously what they think.

Even if it's sort of stupid.

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