Making Obama-Care a Racial Issue

From Sparta, Ga., reporter Kevin Sack contributed to a compilation of dispatches on how citizens in congressional districts across the country feel about Obama-care: "Six Districts, Two Sides, One Weekend - After voting on health care overhaul, lawmakers head home for an accounting" is the full print-edition headline to the Monday story.

Sack's entry is the most objectionable, for its relentless hammering on the racial angle without any apparent point except to conjure up a vague feeling of racial unfairness:

A white man had just finished thanking Representative John Barrow for his vote against the health care bill when Walter A. Collins rose to respectfully disagree.

"I find your vote on health care very disturbing," Mr. Collins, 72, a black retiree, politely told Mr. Barrow, a centrist third-term Democrat. "When you voted no, I really wanted to cry."

At constituent meetings in three rural towns, every white speaker, save one, commended Mr. Barrow for his vote. Each black speaker conveyed a deep sense of betrayal, often after talking about hypertension or diabetes that had gone untreated for lack of insurance.

"You align yourself with those who are clearly not with the working-class Americans," Mr. Collins said. "There is a group who have taken a position that at all costs we want this administration to fail."

Mr. Barrow, who is white, is running for re-election and faces a black opponent in the primary, has a particularly delicate balancing act. For every white conservative he may have impressed by breaking with his party, he seems to have alienated a black supporter in this district, which is 44 percent black.