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Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Honorable John Shadegg
U.S. House of Representatives
436 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Shadegg,

I recently attended your health care town hall at Scottsdale Christian Academy. While I greatly appreciate the opportunity to express our concerns directly and hear your positions more clearly, without the filter of the media, I was deeply dismayed by one exchange.

A women stood at a microphone shaking and angry. At the center of her rage at the moment was "this student loan thing" that the Democrats are trying to incorporate through reconciliation into their health care bill. The woman clearly had the impression that the provision in question represented increased social spending that she and the other taxpayers would now "have to pay for." I am not going to claim that your position on this has no merit. I recognize the validity of arguments on both sides. Perhaps there are arguments that could push me to support your position, but that never came up! You couldn't present your position because it would have corrected her, and you chose instead to leverage her ignorance to rally political forces. You instead gave a short statement of your position carefully worded to support a specific misinterpretation. You allowed her and others to leave still believing the same falsehood and still extremely angry about it.

As far as I'm concerned, your response was just as bad as stating the lie itself. I take every chance I find to correct people on the facts, even at the expense of their enthusiasm for my ideology. Is your ideology really so weak that it can't stand the light of day? Why should you admit such weakness in your ideas and ideals by failing to take the high road so easily laid out in front of you? I believe that increasing the knowledge of civic participants leads to better outcomes more surely than the program of any other ideology. Maybe that's not an option. Much of what you said sounded reasonable, but in retrospect, I have to assume you were just outright lying the entire time. Every single one of your props was misleading in some way. Am I just a liberal intellectual elitists who doesn't understand the concerns of real Americans, and you a sleazy snake oil salesman, and never the twain shall meet?


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