Wednesday, May 25, 2005

His Arrogance, Rep. Chris Clem (R) Expresses Contempt For Lowly Subjects Beneath Him

The following email from Rep. Chris Clem (R-Lookout Mountain) is a perfect illustration of the mentality of many of the elite white males who govern the state of Tennessee. Like Rep. Clem himself, the letter reeks of unmitigated arrogance and contempt for the 'little' people. The Republican lives in an ultra white wealthy suburb of Chattanooga. And it shows. He certainly has no understanding or compassion for those of us who do not. Humility is a lesson he has yet to learn.

The state's expanded Medicaid health care plan - TennCare - covers almost one fourth of all Tennesseans. So when Rep. Clem disparages, ridicules and mocks the Tennesseans who are on TennCare, the Republican is disparaging, ridiculing and mocking almost one fourth of the state's population.

Rep. Clem is famous for sponsoring bills that harm people who are not like him. He has sponsored a bill that would outlaw adoption by gays and a bill that would outlaw civil unions. Of course, he supports a legislator's right to control the bodies of women.

It comes as no surprise to discover that Rep. Clem is fully on board with the Governor's plan to terminate the health care coverage of 323,000 sick, elderly, poor and disabled human beings. Not only is he on board, he seems to relish the prospect.

One of the many things that Chris Clem does not get is that a nation's greatest resource is its people. The failure to nurture that resource by the provision of health care for all is a public policy guaranteed to lead to a nation of the sick and dysfunctional. The U.S. health care system does about as good a job as its educational system. If you're wealthy it's the best in the world. If you're not, you are screwed. And so is the nation.

In his last election, Rep. Clem ran unopposed.

His Arrogance, Rep. Chris Clem Deigns To Speak To, And Pass Judgment On, The Lowly Subjects Beneath Him:

-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Clem []
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 8:49 AM
To: Lori Smith
Subject: RE: The TRUTH about TennCare - it involves you

TennCare is not an entitlement. This is a free handout. Not a single person is entitled or owed free healthcare. Accordingly, there is nothing wrong with reducing such entitlements. If the state decides to give out anything the state should be allowed to limit such free treatment in any way.

The treatment is not limited. Only the free treatment is limited. Anyone can get as much treatment as they want. But, they only get a certain amount of free treatment. This is "socialism light." Anything Bonnyman proposes is full blown socialism if not communism.

These people are not grateful for this free handout. It is one thing to say, "I know I don't deserve free medical care. I know that TennCare costs some working people a great deal. I know many people pay their own way and through taxes pay for others as well. I do appreciate their sacrifice to not only pay their own way but to also pay for others. I really need TennCare and would appreciate anything the state citizens will do."

Instead, most emails we get are more like,

"I demand that you pay anything and everything my doctor and I want without question, without limits, without co-payments and without deductibles. I don't care if you have to cut education or raise taxes. The only thing that matters is that someone else pay for my problems. And, if the government does not agree with this demand then you are nothing more than a godless, cruel, heartless, brainless fool that is no better than a murderer. After all, I pay a few hundred maybe even a few thousand dollars a year in state taxes. That entitles me to free public education, fire protection, roads, and police protection. I know my taxes were never meant to pay for healthcare, but I need it. So, I also demand $15,000 a year in free healthcare. I am more entitled to the average workers hard earned money than they are! Do whatever is necessary to have others pay for my healthcare. Raise taxes on others or cut education. Whatever it takes to have others pay for my problems."

Having said the above, I do believe your email to be a bit kinder than the second example given above.

-----Original Message-----
From: Lori Smith [address removed]
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 6:26 AM
To: Chris Clem
Subject: The TRUTH about TennCare - it involves you

Dear Rep. Chris Clem,

To think there will be such a thing as a "soft landing" for any TennCare enrollee who is cut is absurd and inaccurate. Accurate is "unnecessary and extreme hardship and suffering." And that's only a start.

1. Any legislator who has an in-depth, first-hand knowledge of the TennCare / budget issue - including the unethical politics accompanying it - knows the entire program and budget CAN be saved and has the duty to stand for what is just and right - not follow the status quo and cave
to political pressure.

2. Any legislator who in not completely informed on all the issues must thoroughly educate themselves BEFORE voting on a budget that includes TennCare cuts. This means you must slow down. And you have until June 30th, 2005 to do so.

Comes a time in everyone's life when they must make some tough decisions. Standing up for what is just and right is not always easy or popular.

The time is here. It's your choice.

Respectfully submitted,
Lori Smith


His Arrogance
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