State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, the head of the Louisiana Democratic Party, said on the floor of the state Senate this week that opponents of the federal health care overhaul are motivated by President Obama's race. Peterson, who is also chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, then went on to repeatedly bring up race as she railed against ObamaCare critics.
"I have talked to so many members both in the House and the Senate, and you know what? You ready? You ready? What it comes down to? It's not about how many federal dollars we can receive, it's not about that. You ready? It's about race," Peterson said. "I know nobody wants to talk about that. It's about the race of this African-American president.”
Personally, I am outraged by Peterson’s comments – and I’m sure many opponents of the health care overhaul are as well. I am an American through and through. My roots are of Latino heritage – which I happen to be very proud of – and I will not tolerate being called a racist. I have cared for and treated minority patients throughout my career as a doctor.
My criticisms of ObamaCare are based on facts. It is a poorly executed plan, the American public was not informed and the agenda that was implemented behind the passing of this legislation is not one that I agree with. That is why I criticize ObamaCare.
If race is the best argument that a Democratic leader can come up with to explain why so many people are opposed to this new law, then they’ve got a lot of work to do.
My home is a rainbow of colors. My children have been raised in a multicultural environment and I am very proud of how we have raised them to form opinions based on fact – not emotion.
Peterson did release a statement on Thursday afternoon that was intended to clarify her remarks. However, she also seemed to defend them.
"I think we should judge a policy by its content, not the person proposing it," her statement said. "To be clear, I didn't call any person 'racist.' Rather, I was simply relaying the truth about conversations I've had with my colleagues and the factors they considered on the expansion of Medicaid. While others are using this as an opportunity to take my comments out of context in order to distract from the true issue, I think it's critical that we focus on the substance of the policy because it's the right thing to do for Louisiana."
But making a statement after the fact is easy. I don’t want an apology from State Sen. Peterson, what I want is for her to look the American public in the eye and explain her remarks.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.