I watched on C-Span last night Secretary of Health & Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, return to Congress’s Roman Arena, known as the House Energy & Commerce Committee hearing.
There she was once again thrown to the Republican lions who had a delightful time ranting and fuming against this public servant. I watched her wither and age in the hour I forced myself to view the spectacle. She does not come across as a warm person, but then not many people have sunny dispositions while being stomped and chewed to pieces by drooling lunatics all in a frenzy of uncontrollable rage.
The petty insults, the sneering condescension, the harassing bitterness spewed by Republican members of the Committee were a shameful and atrocious display of partisan politics. Many made no attempt to control their tempers. Some of their outbursts were blatantly acts of bullying and some even bordered on just outright cruelty.
To treat a woman, a professional member of the President’s Cabinet, or anyone for that matter, with that kind of vicious resentment is inexcusable.
These should be disqualifying antics of any Congressional member. These people are not gods. They are not entities within themselves. They are servants of a wide range of constituents. They are there to work for the good of all of the citizens they represent. They are not there to dominate and bulldoze over people brought before them they don’t like.
For God’s sake show some intelligence. Some human decency. Some responsible behavior.
Much of the problem with Congress is that so many in the country give them permission to act like beasts. They demonstrate crude, juvenile, reckless, loathsome actions because they know they can get away with it. And because they think, they assume, they believe the folks back home love that kind of clumsy, barnyard treatment of others.
But people are getting tired of this humiliating ignorance from men and women in Congress. What kind of hope do we have for any significant progress, improvement, or meaningful evolution of our country if we allow our leaders, those who represent us in the highest offices of government and political leadership to behave like buffoons, like gangbangers forcing their way to stake out their turf and to run off anyone who attempts to keep them from it?
If society permits any of its citizenry to be menaced and bullied and attacked by inferior politicians, then eventually none in society are safe. And a day will come when all of us are treated with contempt and disregarded by leaders who have no use for us if we don’t bow down and do what we are told—even those who cheered for them to be that way in the first place.
Power has a strange way of corrupting and disfiguring people. If you don’t believe that then spend some time watching C-Span’s coverage of our Congressional committee hearings.
What politicians need today are citizens who encourage them to act responsibly. Voters who expect their political leaders to be men and women of integrity and self-discipline and who know how to behave like responsible grownups. We need to refuse to elect people to government who are unstable, angry, arrogant and self-absorbed. And we need as voters and citizens to be better examples of citizenship ourselves.
Democracy is a fragile thing. It is always vulnerable to being dismantled and ruined by petty tyrants, be they high office holders or common members of society enraged about not getting their way and refusing to find cooperative solutions.
The conduct of some of the members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee toward Secretary Sebelius was appalling. It not only mocks the whole process of representative government, it gives a frightening nod of acceptance to contemptible, dehumanizing behavior.
This small-mindedness, this moral illiteracy, this shucking of all forms of appropriateness, is feeding flowers to monsters.
Some day, unless we protest this kind of behavior within ourselves and from our leaders, we will wake up and all the beauty of our lives will have been lost to some unspeakable ruthlessness and then in panic we will long for what we cannot repair or regain.
© 2013 Timothy Moody