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July 2009

The Emotions involved in Health Care Reform

An excellent piece on HuffPo about the emotions involved in the debate over health care.  An excerpt:

Anger, on the other hand, does not immobilize like fear. It energizes action. In politics, anger is almost always a necessary precursor to change and hope. American voters would not have been willing to take a chance on the change and hope offered by the Obama campaign in 2008 if they were not already furious with the administration of George W. Bush and its failed stewardship of our economy and foreign policy. That anger stemmed from the sense that everyday people could no longer look forward to better lives in the future. Obama resolved that anger into the hope that change could bring them a better life.

The powerful elements that dominate the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement also focus the anger of people who feel they are losing control or have been passed by, but instead of resolving that anger into hope, they resolve anger into fear of change -- and fear of people who "aren't like them."

To win the battle over health care -- and all of the other major battles required to fulfill the promise of change -- progressives must engage the anger of most Americans and do a better job mobilizing that anger than our right-wing opponents.

Health Care Reform: The Position of the Church

Tomorrow the Oklahoma Interfaith Alliance will be holding a press conference at the State Capitol calling for health care reform. Scott Jones will be representing and speaking on behalf of the UCC. At General Synod XXVII the Church passed a resolution on health care reform, and recently the collegium of the church issued a pastoral letter on the topic. Read these and other resources, and learn what you can do on this issue, here on the UCC website.

My correspondence with Rep. Fallin over the Matthew Shepherd Act

Dear Dr. Jones:


Thank you for contacting me about H.R. 1913, the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Understanding your ideas and concerns is important to me, as it helps me to better represent you and the Fifth District of Oklahoma.


This legislation was passed with a vote of 249 to 175 in the House of Representatives on April 29, 2009. 


I believe that all violent crimes are unacceptable, regardless of the victims, and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent. However, the determination of criminal penalties for violent crime is constitutionally reserved for state and local governments. State and local law enforcement are best equipped to enforce and mandate these penalties and are doing so already very effectively, under each state's laws. 


Thank you again for taking the time to share your ideas and concerns.  As the 111th Congress addresses the many challenges facing our nation, I hope you will continue to share your thoughts and views with me. However, due to increased security measures, mail delivery may be delayed for up to two weeks. Accordingly, I encourage you to visit my website at to contact me via email in the future.  While visiting my site you may also sign up for my e-newsletter as well as find useful information about the 111th Congress.



Mary Fallin

And my response:


Rep. Fallin,


You write:


State and local law enforcement are best equipped to enforce and mandate these penalties and are doing so already very effectively, under each state's laws. 


As you well know, federal statutes such as this partially exist because state and local governments can often be quite bigoted, as they are here in Oklahoma, when it comes to protections for all citizens.  The District Attorney of Oklahoma County and the Attorney General of the State have both called for this type of legislation on the state level, but the legislature has failed to even discuss in committee the six different bills introduced the last two sessions. 


Please do not pass the buck of doing your duty to protect all your constituents, and, in the process, support continued violence of bigots and hate groups.



Rev. Dr. Scott Jones