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Katie Couric's Notebook: Fear and Frustration

At a town meeting hosted by Senator Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania resident stood up to say that the health care debate has "awakened the sleeping giant."

Not exactly.

What's it's done, it seems, is stirred a hornets nest, and uncovered disturbing attitudes and emotions that have nothing to do with policy.

Are we really still debating health care when a man brings a handgun to a church where the President is speaking?

How does a swastika spray-painted on a Congressman's office further a discussion about Medicare?

These are tough and challenging times and lots of people are scared about their jobs and the economy. But we can't let fear and frankly ignorance - drown out the serious debate that needs to take place - about an issue that affects the lives of millions of people.

It's time for everyone to take a deep breath and to focus on the task at hand before this sideshow drowns out the main event.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.