Oct. 1, 2013. Dear Editor,
While I sympathize with the difficult position in which the High Country Press finds itself, it made a moral error in printing Representative Virginia Foxx’s press release on October 1 with no commentary (“Foxx: I Cast Third Vote To Avoid Government Shutdown, Ensure Fair Treatment for All Under ObamaCare”). There can be no free press if journalists do not critically asses what the powerful ask them to print. History is full of instances in which newspapers have served as nothing more than propagandistic outlets for politicians—think only of the fact that “Pravda” is the Russian word for “truth.” Just because we live in a country that still abides by the spirit (if not the letter) of democracy does not mean that newspapers cannot be manipulated by politicians seeking to advance their agendas by lying to their constituents. Regrettably, this is what the High Country Press has done in publishing Representative Foxx’s letter verbatim.
What the HC Press should have noted is this: Representative Foxx wrote that she cast a “vote to keep the federal government open to the American people.” This is like a hostage-taker saying he is working hard to keep his hostages alive. Foxx and her colleagues voted to make the defunding and postponement of a law approved by the normal legislative process (and which the American people ratified in an election by rejecting a candidate who specifically advocated repealing this law) a condition for approving a continuing resolution that would keep the US government funded and open. Foxx and her colleagues who are responsible for shutting the US government down, not keeping it open.
Furthermore, Foxx writes: “In North Carolina, the rates available through the exchanges may be triple or quadruple what individuals are paying now, and there will be fewer providers to choose from.” It should have been pointed out that is a fabrication, pure and simple. It is, moreover, ironic that in this instance, she denies the very free-market principles (upon which the exchanges are based) that she seems to support so uncritically in other circumstances). As many have observed, what the Republicans fear is that the Affordable Health Care Act will prove popular once it is implemented, making it as hard to repeal as Social Security, which, it should be recalled, they sought unsuccessfully to privatize a decade ago.
Finally, the point of the Affordable Health Care Act is, among other things, to provide health care to the millions of Americans who have no access to it. This is what Foxx and the Republicans oppose, just as North Carolina Republicans have turned down federal Medicaid expansion funds and have slashed unemployment benefits for our most vulnerable citizens. That she would deign to insult the intelligence of her constituents by describing her goal as one of “fairness” is evidence of just how deceptive her party and its agenda have become.