"There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org."
NORMALLY, I'm not one to get fired up about political issues, but this White House crowd is getting to be more than a little overbearing. The paragraph above comes from an Aug. 4 entry on the White House blog.
When I read it, I blew a gasket. The White House, basically, is asking me and you to rat out anyone who disagrees with the Obama version of the "truth" on health reform. Free speech? Not if it's something "fishy" that you hear in a "casual conversation" with your neighbor or co-worker. The White House wants you to report those deviant thoughts to "email@example.com" because they just can't keep up with all the people who disagree with them.
Talk about KGB tactics, Chicago-style.
Please don't chime in now about "Bush spied on us."
Neither one of the Bush presidents ever asked Americans to turn in people who disagree with policy proposals. Neither Bush, nor Bill Clinton, ever called here to complain about one of our daily "Our View" editorials.
I know that because one day, only two months after President Obama was inaugurated, a White House functionary called here before noon. She called to complain about an "Our View" editorial that had first hit the street and gone on our Web site only a matter of hours earlier, chastising Obama.
The White House wanted a letter of rebuttal printed. A letter was e-mailed here by a friend of the administration later in the day and we printed it the next day. No problem. Giving readers a diversity of opinion is what this page is all about.
What really burned me up, though, was the lightning speed with which the White House detected some dissent in small, faraway Lorain, and made it a priority to attack within hours. Forget North Korea; put Afghanistan on hold; don't worry about the economy; the White House wants that squeaky wheel in Lorain oiled.
Today, five months later, there must be so many of us squeaks across the nation that the White House can't detect and oil them all. So the Obama Administration is calling upon you to watch and to listen for unfavorable squeaking, and then to squeal to the guardians of the One Truth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You had better keep a close eye on this White House. Because the Obama White House apparently has its eyes and ears out on the streets watching, listening and ready to 'flag' anyone who doesn't sing their tune.
That is loathsome, and un-American.