Health Care Threats

March 25, 2010 1:28:47 PM PDT
I guess the best to hope for now is that one of these whackos is caught and punished and it serves as some kind of deterrent. What an extraordinary and disturbing unleashing of hate and hateful behavior by those who, apparently, don't cotton to the federal government making sure health care is guaranteed to 30 million Americans who didn't have it before.

Hey gang, ever hear of a sit-in? Or trying to get someone you like elected? How about a peaceful march?

But throwing rocks through windows? Sending hate-filled, anti-Semitic letters to Congressmen?

Boy that takes real guts and principles.

Congressman Anthony Weiner of Queens/Brooklyn got a Swastika drawing in a letter that called him "Schlomo Weiner," among other things. He also got a baggie filled with white powder at his office in Kew Gardens today. Nine people in his office were checked out, just in case. Both the NYPD and the FBI are on the scene.

There's nothing you can really do about crazies, except perhaps not to encourage them. And when the opponents of health care reform in Congress take to the airwaves and make their criticisms of Pres. Obama sound as if he's the antichrist (yes, that was a poll question recently, and 24% of conservatives labeled him as such!) well, then, what do they expect will happen?

Words matter people. And when you're in front of a microphone and you sound as if it's all-out-war against the President for wanting to guarantee a basic right of decent health care for Americans, then some would say those who foment the violence bear some responsibility.

And lest anyone think these nut jobs actually have more than rocks in their head, some are using the fevered pitch of hate as nothing more than an excuse for violence. Otherwise, how to explain the bullet shot at the Richmond office of Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor, a Republican who voted against the health care bill. Just like all his fellow Repubs. The difference: Cantor is Jewish.

Or maybe it was just a big accident? Could be. What are the odds?

Tonight at 11, we'll have the latest on the political incivility that has erupted. Jeff Pegues heads our coverage. And yesterday we asked you to react to all this. Some of your comments are at the end of this column.

Also at 11, one of the more embarrassing chapters in New York City history tonight taking what could be a turn for the better. Going on nine years after the terror attacks, and after a 16-month stalemate, the developer of the old World Trade Center and various government agencies that control the site have reached a deal to rebuild at Ground Zero.

The site remains mostly a pit visually and emotionally as egos, greed and hard-headedness have gotten in the way. Is this the real deal? Jim Dolan has our story tonight.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Sade Baderinwa (in for Liz Cho) and me, tonight at 11.


PS: Here are your comments about the hatred over health care reform.

W. Diggs of Yonkers says that "these comments about the health care bill are excessive. The complaints about the government mandate are the most ridiculous because the government is merely taking action to stop freeloaders who don't have health insurance from taking advantage of 'free-health care' - which is actually paid for by those of us who do have insurance. Do the GOP, Tea Party types and anti-Obama-ites really want to encourage and stand with those who practice that kind of irresponsibility? If so, then let's go back and repeal welfare reform since getting a welfare benefit for those who don't work - paid for by those who do work isn't all that different from getting a health care benefit for those who don't have it ? also paid for by those who work or hold health insurance."

Sylvia Walker of Queens writes that "Republicans just show how racist they all are." And Juanita from New York City says that, "we as Americans should be happy that we live in such a Great Country and have the right to disagree. I just think it is a shame that Americans are acting like animals and trying to hurt other people who disagree with them. They forget that these are our freedoms and we have a right to vote and do things as we believe."

Maurice Spitz from Los Angeles claims that "Palin and her bunch bunch are disgusting and their propensity towards stupid and violent words should not be tolerated. What have the Republicans done with 8 years? Debt and war!"

Sharon-France Reynolds, who keeps up with New York goings-on from Columbia, Missouri, writes that she is "very sad (as Pollyanna as it might be - I believed we were much further up the intelligence tree). It is extremely scary. We can pray that cooler heads prevail; and we can lead by example, and by our everyday conversations. I think we must take it day by day and be careful not to inflame by our fear. For myself, I must try not to verbalize what I think of the knuckleheads that are intent on (evil) retribution."

Pete from Wantagh offers that "the advocacy of violence and fear mongering on the health care issue shows us that bigotry and intolerance are alive and well in America. And many of our so called leaders in Congress should be held accountable for fanning the flames of ignorance.

Ron from Brooklyn says: "Many politicians, not just conservatives, feel they must incite fear and ill-will in order to pitch their plans and manipulate the public. The only way to reduce this is for the media to stop rewarding divisive and argumentative speech with less quality air-time. Come on media! Step up and redirect your cameras to the leaders who trust Americans and will appeal to our intellect and reason when articulating choices. Don't encourage extreme takes on issues by indulging the attention-getting, polarizing attacks of the 'other side,' whatever that side may be."

Debra Greif of Brooklyn writes: "Why is it all right for the Republicans and conservatives in elected office (to) have health care, and not just any kind, but the best? Let's start a campaign, which I'm doing, to ask elected officials (including their families): Why can you have excellent health care and Americans can't? Also, as a parent of a child with developmental disabilities, ask Sarah Palin, will she be willing to allow her son with Down Syndrome to be without health care and will she pay for his lifetime care and health care out of her personal pocket?"