Weather Forecast


Vote on funding bill fails in Senate, virtually assuring government shutdown

Tis' health-care season

Tis' the season, and this season seemed to have begun even earlier than last year, in fact this may be the earliest the season has ever begun.

Long before the Thanksgiving bird was in the oven, before the first ghost or goblin rang our door bell, before kids met their new teachers and even before the dog days of summer had ended, the season had begun. Seasonal television and radio commercials interrupted summer reruns, college football and new sitcoms continued right up to holiday family favorites, "Frosty the Snowman,"and the "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

This year's season early start did nothing to dampen the season's intensity, in fact it grew as temperatures dropped, leaves fell and snow covered the ground. This year's season of political debate on the hot congressional topic of the year is unlike any before.

Unless you are smarter than most and prefer a good book, exercise or anything really worth while to television, you have been inundated with innumerable commercials trying to sway your opinion and call you to action on the health care debate. The president, North Dakota senators, political parties, insurance companies and lobbyists have been the target of crusading political action groups on both sides of the issue.

There are doctors for national health care, doctors against, senior citizens for, seniors against, and depending on the commercial, it will either raise or lower the national debt. The debate continues with every commercial interruption. North Dakota senators are either defender of the poor, big insurance company's flunkies and champions of senior citizens or care nothing about the health of senior citizens. Commercial after commercial seems to contradict the next.

Nearly all Americans (93 percent) view the issue as important, according to a September News Interest Index survey. More than seven-in-ten (72 percent) say the issue is interesting, while 26 percent see it as boring, 67 percent found it hard to understand, and thanks to the media blitz that number was up from only 63 percent of those surveyed in July who thought it was hard to understand.

I have to admit I agree with the 93 percent of those surveyed that think it is important, 72 percent that concur the issue is interesting, but also agree with the 26 percent after constant commercials it can be boring and certainly find myself among the 67 percent that find it hard understand.

So in a better attempt to understand the complex issue lately I spend more time reading about the issue and I use my remote control and radio dial 100 percent of the time to channel surf during all commercial breaks until I find anything but national health care commercials.

-- Harvey Brock is the publisher of The Dickinson Press. E-mail him