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Gutsy Not the Right Word for Grayson’s Actions

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“People are happy to see a Democrat with guts,” said Alan Grayson, one of Florida’s democratic representatives, in reference to his own recent actions.

If you haven’t yet heard of Grayson’s acts, you may be asking what gutsy action has ushered forth this auto-accolade.

The context was health care.

As perhaps the hottest topic on the chamber floor, as well as the one that creates the most dissension, the debate on health care establishes a forum in which representatives on either side can gain fame like victorious generals in a war.

Determination, experience, clout, ethos, angry outbursts — all these can result in politicians emerging into the limelight. Certainly, we can identify these processes in action in the political arena today (Joe Wilson, anyone?)

Yet Grayson’s claim to 'gutsiness' is not derived from any of the aforementioned avenues.

His chosen means? Satire.

Here’s what happened. Grayson recently spoke on the House floor for just over two minutes. During that short period of time, he delivered a speech on ‘the Republican health care plan’ that he outlined as consisting of not getting sick, and if one does get sick, dying quickly.

In the time since his demonstration, Grayson has been urged to apologize for his straw-man representation of the Republican health care stance as well as for the insulting content of his delivery.

The only apology he had to offer, however, was one “to the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this holocaust in America.”

Clearly, Grayson is perturbed at the current state of affairs in the White House. He is frustrated with Republicans for their lack of support of the Democratic health care strategy, and chose to act in light of that.

Grayson does not seem to fear backlash; after all, “people are happy to see a Democrat with guts.”

But I don’t think that ‘gutsy’ is the proper adjective for this approach.

If Grayson acted solely out of consideration for those who die annually for lack of health insurance, I imagine that he would contend in a more professional manner. It is obvious that “die quickly” is not the health care plan provided by Republicans, and his failure to take their position seriously has caused me to question his own credibility.

Although I understand the rhetorical power of satire to persuade, I also recognize that much of Grayson’s presentation and ensuing remarks contain gross misrepresentations, which I find disappointing.

Some better words for his actions may be “nerve,” “temerity,” or a sort of plucky, immature chutzpah.

If Grayson wanted to be a brave standard bearer for the cause of the underprivileged (which is indeed a noble calling), perhaps he should have conducted himself more honorably.

Granted, insulting humor has had a place in the governments of many regions. The British Parliament, for instance, has historically hosted battles of wit and rudeness, but a historical precedent does not necessarily justify someone’s actions.

Grayson’s delivery defies the principle of correctly portraying an opposing viewpoint.

His right to speech may very well be protected by the 1st Amendment, but the right to speak does mean that what is spoken is right.

Grayson’s words were arguably more imprudent than gutsy.

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About Trevor Clark

  • Baronius

    El B – HR 3400

    It addresses insurance purchases across states, tort reform, pre-existing conditions, defensive medicine…most of the things that Republicans have been talking about all year.

  • Arch Conservative

    Gee Poltergeist….One could just as easily charge that the Democrats want people to receive shoddy healthcare so that the trial lawyers pockets stay full from all those malpractice dollars…..

    Or one could say that the state administered welfare programs touted by the Democrats with their holier than thou attitude actually make people completely dependent upon the government without any hope of ever becoming self sufficient…..but then again….that’s probably how you like it right polter?

    As for Grayson and Wilson…neither is worthy of the martydom that their respective political ideological niches seem to want to award them.

  • poltergeist

    He gave them too much credit. The Republicans WANT you to get sick so they and their ideological allies can profit from your misfortune. They pretend that profiteering is the ‘free market’ at work, and despite their holier than thou attitude, they are the exact modern equivalent of the moneychangers.

  • daniel irvine

    Grayson is my man! The first democrat that actually has ANY balls to stand up to the rightwing idiots who have a combined IQ of less than 50…

  • “not the health care plan provided by Republicans”

    which is what exactly? I haven’t heard one put forth. I have only heard what they don’t want. Surely, you can provide a link to it for readers.

  • And here I though the word you were looking for to describe Grayson was “bigot” or “racist” or “anti-semite”.