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FIRST-PERSON: Blind leading the blind

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–“And if a blind man guides a blind man,” Jesus said, “both will fall into a pit.” You need look no further than the United States Congress and the American populace to see a visual aid of the truth the Savior declared.

Senate and House committees recently approved bills designed to overhaul America’s health care industry. The House version of the legislation consists of more than 1000 pages.

President Obama is pressuring Congress to pass health care legislation before it recesses in August. Representatives admit that when it comes time to vote they likely will not understand all the bill entails and how much it will cost. And yet they still plan to vote on it.

A few weeks ago a similar situation occurred. The House of Representatives passed legislation known as cap and trade which was drafted to address environmental issues and “global warming.” The original bill was in the neighborhood of 1,500 pages. However, at 3 a.m. the day of the vote, Democrats added an additional 300 pages. Though representatives had no clue what was in the bill or how much it would cost, they passed it.

Go back in time a few months and a similar scenario occurred in reference to the so-called stimulus package. The same was also true for the bank bail-out bill passed at the end of 2008. In each case, Congress approved legislation with little or no knowledge of contents or cost.

The current Congress, it seems, is nothing more than a collection of blind guides. However, compounding the sightless leadership of U.S. lawmakers is a population largely blinded by a popular culture fixated on fickle fads, self-serving celebrities, inane entertainment and ever-changing technology.

While Congress has been toying with America’s future — fiscal and otherwise — too many Americans have been focused on TV reality star lives, rather than their own.

A majority of Americans seem more interested in the outcome of American Idol and the release of the newest iPhone than they do the passage of intrusive and expensive legislation. The passing of Michael Jackson garnered more interest among Americans than the passing of cap and trade and health care legislation.

If Congress is a collection of blind guides it has a majority of Americans blinded by popular culture who are willing to be led. And while sightless lawmakers and a blind populace grope along toward the inevitable ditch, there is another unsighted element aiding America’s blind procession.

“There is none so blind as those that will not see,” asserts an ancient axiom. That said, perhaps the blindest of the blind in America are those who make up the media. The men and women who are charged with informing citizens and calling Congress to account are choosing to be stone blind when it comes to certain legislation.

Rather than asking congressional leaders or the president tough questions concerning the reality of recent legislation, the media — with rare exception — has acted like a mere spectator simply repeating the congressional or administrative spin.

When they are not accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative of proposed legislation, most media outlets are trumpeting the trivial. Is the relationship of Jon and Kate Gosselin as important as cap and trade legislation? Should the death of Michael Jackson trump reports on legislation that will affect Americans for decades to come?

If you survey the news cycle over the past few months the answer most media outlets gave to the aforementioned questions is a resounding “yes.”

A blind Congress is leading blind Americans encouraged by an even blinder media. It is only a matter of time before all fall into a ditch. The only hope for a nation beset by blindness is for the sighted to cry out concerning the dangers that are on every side. Thank God for courageous legislators, citizens and media members who are not afraid to point out the fallacies, shortcomings and cost of legislation being pushed in Washington.

There is still hope for America. May the Lord once again restore the sight of our blind nation — before we find ourselves in a ditch.
Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press and editor of the Baptist Message (www.baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

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  • Kelly Boggs