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Joe Wilson and Our Character as Shown in the Health-Care Debate

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Forget compassion and consider self-interest. Aren't you better off if the person working next to you who has a communicable disease receives care early on?

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I am not in any way dismissing those concerned about illegal immigration as racists or reactionaries. There are legitimate disagreements as to what we should do about it and problems with extending government programs to those who violate the law to get here.

But I am not at all at peace with the fact that the one issue about which a member of Congress chose to rise up and accuse our president of being a liar related to the charge that our chief executive wasn't doing enough to build walls between illegal immigrants and health coverage.

How mean-spirited will we allow ourselves to become? How coarsened has our political culture made us? We like to see ourselves as a generous, caring and welcoming nation. Are we losing that part of our character?

ejdionne@washpost.com


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