Part of my job every week is selecting one or two political cartoons to go on our Opinion page. Depending on what's happening in the world on any particular week, the task which entails finding suitable cartoons on the Kings Feature web site and downloading them for placement can be either interesting or quite boring.


This week's batch consisted mostly of cartoons about health care reform. But one in particular really irked me. The cartoon, shown above, depicts a group of colorfully dressed clowns walking into a building with "Town Hall" inscribed over a doorway. Below are two words, "Clown Hall."


The artwork was created by Sacramento Bee cartoonist Rex Babin, whose works are syndicated and regularly available on the Kings Feature wire. Generally I've never been fond of Babin's work. Artistically I find his style a little too globby, if there's such a word, and his political point of view abrasive. (Occasionally, however, I do select his cartoons if they catch my attention and seem good fit for our publication.)


Well this cartoon certainly caught my attention. In fact, I immediately found it to be intensely offensive. But it demonstrates that a segment of liberals believe those currently expressing their dislike for President Obama's health care reform are buffoons. While I would agree that some people attacking the administration's health care ideas have stepped over the bounds of polite decorum, calling them "clowns" for expressing themselves and their heartfelt beliefs is offensive.


Personally I believe the health care situation isn't perfect. Just ask a small business owner struggling to provide health care coverage for their employees. Premiums continue going up, making it increasingly difficult to provide insurance. Or if you've been in the hospital recently and saw the bill afterward, the costs associated with even basic procedures seem completely out of whack.


But a lot of us are fairly happy with our coverage. We believe our doctors are looking after our health interests, and our medicine costs, which are not fun to pay each month, are still affordable.


Health care needs to be looked at. Yes. But before the president comes heroically riding on his white steed, we should be scouring non-governmental solutions to bringing health care costs under control. The broad-brushed "solutions" of big government may seem tempting to some but the legacy they would leave could be disastrous.


Continue exercising your rights. Share your thoughts. You are not clowns. You are Americans exercising your freedom to speak your mind and improve your country. And thank God for that.


Congressman Jerry Lewis will be the featured speaker at a town hall meeting at the Victor Valley College Performing Arts Center beginning at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 26.