The outside looking in: A commentary on the ACA Hearing in Gastonia
Anyone who attended the US House oversight committee hearing in Gastonia and sat in on it today, certainly was treated to a one-sided, political dog and pony show. I entered the hearings in silence and left in mourning.
Yes, I am in mourning. Mourning for a Country that continues to use PR and marketing tools to jockey for political position while the citizens they profess to be working for are screwed over and left on the side of the road with yesterday’s trash. The hearing had nothing to do with solutions, building communities, reaching out to others or attempting to gather information to make affordable healthcare a reality.
As the Republican committee members asked the rehearsed questions and made their one line zingers, the rest of us sat in silence as the all too predictable drama unfolded. The witnesses regurgitated fox news talking points as the room divided between those who nodded in agreement and those who shook their head in disgust.
The media was not to be left out as they circled their prey for the perfect shot and the most titillating sound bite to play on the local news. It was standing room only as the media lined up against the walls and had their cameras rolling not to miss a minute of this soap opera playing in high definition. High drama was the order of the day and the Gaston County courthouse it’s stage.
I am also in mourning as our political system is broken. Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians….all play their roles like seasoned actors. Meanwhile all the rhetoric and hijinks continued to pile on like stink on a hog farm. If further division and continued disillusion in the American political system was the goal of today’s events, the oversight committee delivered. We are broken, America is broken.
Democracy cried today. The melodrama unfolding before our eyes brought tears to lady liberty. She stood off in the distance, no room for her ideological inclusion at today’s freak show. Forget the huddled masses they too were left on the outside. They were left wanting, wanting to speak about how the Affordable Care Act had helped them. They resorted to holding signs as those who passed by stretched their necks to see what was going on in downtown Gastonia today.
And so, I weep as well. In the midst of all the media hype, public relations, marketing and political posturing there were actual human beings who were suffering. Several Mothers stood in the brisk morning air telling their stories of loss. You see this is about much more than getting our picture taken with a national politician or getting a moment on the local news. It is about a society of haves and have nots, those who can and those who cannot. In the end the haves and those who can, smiled as Obama care was thrown against the ropes in the one-sided kangaroo court. On the other hand those who have not and cannot sat silently as those they should trust and respect dashed their hopes and vilified their saving grace.
Gastonia had more than a visit from Washington today. They saw more than a sham of a hearing and a spectacle fit for TMZ or Entertainment Tonight. What Gastonia witnessed today was the further collapse of a society that is trying to hang on to civility and hope while those elected and appointed to serve and protect stand in the distance as their constituents grasp is loosened and their hope derailed.
Gaston County was ground zero for everything that is wrong with America today. I only hope that as we go forward someone or some group of elected officials will break free from the madness and represent the people instead of themselves. For that to happen they would have to put down the political pom -poms and stop speaking the political jargon. I don’t have much hope left after today.