08 August 2009

Neighbor Has the Wrong Idea? Turn Them In to the Whitehouse!

I have been making an effort to focus on and post primarily photography, music, poetry and the like lately. However, I read an article by Macon Phillips on the White House blog (Ironically titled "Facts are Stubborn Things") on Tuesday and have been stewing over it since. Macon is the White House Director of New Media.

(Photo:Zbigniew Bzdak/McClatchy News)

"There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov."

Silly me. I had no idea it was the White House's responsibility to track all opposition to their programs. What if it is something other than fearing corporate health care designed by those we accuse of destroying the current system? Are there other addresses for other offenses? What if I disagree with bombing a country that our Congress and Senate never authorized? What if I ask about the destruction of the product life cycle? How many dissenters are being tracked? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?


Since people opposing this plan are "spreading disinformation", we should turn them into the White House staff? Macon and his buddies can't keep up with everyone who is opposing it, so we need you to report your friends, relatives and neighbors to the White House so that we can knock down any dissent. The "New Media" policy appears to be to turn in fellow citizens who have dissenting political opinions from the White House.

Debates about health care, finance, defense, security and privacy will continue to rage. I just hope that our leaders find a way to participate in the discussion without spying on constituents or asking them to turn each other in for their beliefs. (My civics teacher in high school had called Russia's (1980s) government tyrannical and overreaching for instituting such policies.)


Anonymous said...

While, in general, our government has for decades proven itself to be untrustworthy and greedy, and it's individually elected office holders shown themselves to be more self-serving than in-service to their country, I look at this situation with a slightly different perspective anyway.
First of all, we, as a nation, MUST develop a universal healthcare system for our people. ALL of the healthiest nations in the world - the ones with the best infant mortality rates and highest longevity rates, have universal healthcare. The US pays more for healthcare than any other country in the world and we are NOT among the healthiest nations (this is according to the WHO, the UN, and the CIA Factbook).
I felt that this new strategy by the Whitehouse was one to bridge the gap in understanding and to help develop a better plan. Certainly, I don't think the first course of action should be for the gov't to start gathering, digitizing, and posting to the web all of our private health information - we don't trust our gov't like that yet.
In my opinion, if they want to win us over, we need to see some good faith effort on their part to encourage healthy habits. For example, how about some well-done public service announcements that will counter all of the fast food/bad restaurant/junk food advertising on TV - because, let's face it, that's our problem - the quality and insidious nature of this kind of TV/billboard/radio advertising exceeds the quality and benefit of the product and it insinuates 'goodness' (like the Church's Fried Chicken ad) and luxury ("you deserve this treat").
What I would like to see us doing is, at the grassroots level (that means YOU), each of us as indviduals, develop and formulate our own vision of how universal healthcare would work. Once formulated, share it with every single person you know including every one of your elected officials. Through this truly public debate and idea-sharing, WE CAN create a system that will work for our country.
Do not be distracted by this political posturing perspective, and demand a good faith effort on the part of the gov't and start envisioning a good universal healthcare system. Personally, I don't trust the gov't and the insurance companies do right by us without our input - you know, similar to 'no taxation without representation'.
The Wife

Amber Sunshine said...

One of our constitutional fundamental rights is to "disagree" with the whitehouse and speak freely about it without worrying about consequences. I have been in other contries where people were jailed for speaking publically about their belief in legalizing marijuana. no doubt there was a corrupt stream of marijuana flowing through the country. But these guys got jailed for speaking their mind.

I'm with you, we should be wary of any goverment that asks us to turn in our friends, family, and associates for disagreeing with it. Our country was founded on principles of freedom, including expressing our opinions. Shame on the whitehouse for not taking immediate action to fire this guy.