Sometimes I think we all take too much for granted the incredible fragility of "this great American experiment" we call democracy. A few weeks ago, in a backyard in California, a woman and two children were discovered, essentially slaves--for many years--of a man and his wife. In our democratic system, that man has just as much power, finally, as, say, Walter Cronkite--each has a single vote. Incredible.
Last night's speech has been and will be reviewed sweetly and sourly, I'm sure. I thought it was a good speech, but then I don't hate Barack Obama. One man, obviously, does--Rep. Joe Wilson, Republican from South Carolina, who yelled, "You lie," at the President during the speech.
Democracy affords Wilson his opinion, an opinion shared, I'm sure, by millions. He won't be placed behind bars because democracy also affords us all free speech.
But I'm hoping that his stunning and emotional denunciation of the President of the United States brings some kind of order back to an electorate so deeply divided as to endanger the fragility of this outrageous political experiment.
Democracy gives all of us a voice, but on an issue like health care, an issue that has effects in every last aspect of all of our lives, we will do better--or so it seems to me--to listen, to discuss, even to comprimise, than to scream so bitterly.
Maybe last night Rep. Joe Wilson taught us that lesson more effectively than any soothsayer could have. I hope that's true.