At Thursday's health care summit, Rep. Louise Slaughter issued a dramatic call for health care reform, telling us of a woman who was so poor that she wore her late sister's dentures:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LOUISE SLAUGHTER, D-N.Y.: I have a constituent that you won't believe and I know you won't, but her sister died, this poor woman had no dentures. She wore her dead sister's teeth which of course were uncomfortable and did not fit. Do you believe that in America that's where we would be?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
No, I don't believe that's where we would be. But apparently Slaughter does. Her office says she heard the story from a doctor in Buffalo.
So maybe it's true and if so it's sad. But still, these tales of woe drive me nuts. Mind you, Slaughter wasn't the only person to bring up this stuff: Congressman George Miller talked about his two fake hips, Lamar Alexander talked about a friend's wife who was sick and our president brought up his mom and his two daughters… again.
Look, I've had enough of politicians using isolated tales of anguish to score political points. If we could get a moratorium on these stories — whether they be true or exaggerated or false — we'd all be better off.
I mean, we all experience pain and sorrow in our lives and we've all lost loved ones, so if everyone pulled a Slaughter, nothing would ever happen. And as passionate as you are about something and as horrifying or sentimental the story may be, it still doesn't pass muster as an intelligent point. You can't tell people about a friend dying from falling off a ladder and then say, "That's why ladders need banning."
If we stopped turning every debate into a contest of tragic suffering then there might be real reform. But I doubt it.
And if you disagree with me, then you're worse than a racist homophobe.