Thursday, November 19, 2009
How Can The Right Be So Wrong?
As readers of my blog may have learned from a previous post I wrote in September about the fierce opposition to a pro-education speech Obama made to students, I don't do stupid. In fact I think we should enact a three strikes law to censure those that willfully and dangerously mislead the public, particularly a segment as vulnerable as the elderly, with such reprehensible fear-mongering and insane distortions of the truth. I know it would never happen, but it sure would be a peaceful respite if it did.
I react to right-wing wackos spewing fear and deception like others react to fingernails across a chalkboard. And one person who is responsible for blanketing the media with fear and lies of late is Sarah Palin. You may remember her as the intellectual powerhouse that responded to a question in an interview by People magazine about whether she felt she was ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency in this fashion:
"Absolutely. Yup, yup!"
Exploiting the fears of our senior citizens and basically telling them they will be hauled off to confront some faceless panel of government bureaucrats to defend their existence if health care reform passes is just morally irresponsible, and I have to wonder how many are now panic-stricken and unable to sleep nights because of the terror she is perpetuating. Sadly, it's these misinformed citizens that have the most to lose in this battle. By buying into this paranoia the Republicans are selling, they are rejecting a health care plan that could someday save their lives and their life savings. In fact, the health insurance industry is counting on it with every million dollars they put forward to defeat health care reform legislation.
The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
- H. L. Mencken
I have become so fed up with Palin panicking senior citizens by telling them that Obama's "death panels" will be deciding their fate or that he will be coming after her Down Syndrome baby so that it can be sacrificed to the state. Not just seniors are swallowing this rubbish either. Now there are whole mobs of dissenters and agitators that the Republicans have indoctrinated and mobilized to spread the lies, fear and hate at these town hall meetings. Pretending to be local citizens, they are told to sit in the front row, interrupt, yell, scream, and just beat back the speaker with a verbal assault of insane ravings and disinformation until the meeting has to be adjourned.
I'm not going to get into the pros and cons of the health care reform bill. That's a subject for another day. But what I am railing against today is the type of sleazy, mean-spirited chicanery perpetrated by the right-wing conservatives in their efforts to obstruct passage of legislation that would benefit all Americans for the sole purpose of political gain.
Republicans have focused on this issue because for Obama to achieve a victory in this arena, where for decades Ted Kennedy and so many others like him have failed, would be a major coup, and Lord knows they can't allow that to happen at any cost. Why? Some might speculate that it was payback at the defeat of the McCain/Palin ticket. I'm sure many in the "good ol' boy network" want him to fail for no other reason than their contempt for the color of Obama's skin.
Personally, I think it's just the same old infantile political power struggles that play out in elementary school playgrounds each day where "if I don't get my way I'm going to take my ball and go home." This is the sort of "business as usual" practice in Washington D.C. that makes one wonder if our system of government shouldn't be the recipient of an enema. The bottom line is that their obstructionist activities are having a big impact on what could have been a very promising bit of legislation.
The unfortunate thing about this issue is that the Republicans are using it as an excuse to fling mud at Obama and the Democrats while truly they have no interest in reforming health care. As Senator Jim Demint of South Carolina told his fellow Republicans recently, "If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him..." Never mind the millions of uninsured people for whom the lifesaving care that this bill would provide. Don't concern yourself, Senator Demint, with trying to reform a self-serving health care insurance industry which cares more about profit margins than people. Those people will just sink helplessly into debt trying to pay their medical bills and forgo necessary treatments and die. End of problem.