Wednesday, August 5, 2009
How quickly things change. Mere months ago, when anti-McCain protesters came to his rallies carrying signs and chanting, the entire right wing, in their usual unison (goose-stepping?), called it "fascism." Outrage aplenty. But now the orders have gone out and the minion hordes have responded, armed with yelling points, steeped in stupid. We have no real arguments, they show us, we simply can yell. If we have nothing positive to add to the conversation, we'll be damn sure no one else can speak. Why? Because we love our country and the democracy on which it's based.
Forget that these "demonstrations" are organized by lobbyists. Ignore the fact that conservative Congressional leaders think it's just peachy to disrupt town hall meetings, the cornerstone on which our nascent democracy was built a couple hundred years ago. (And, no, I never liked it when liberal groups tried to do it, either: the difference is they, at least, stayed at the back of the room and were pretty easily silenced: typical lefty disorganization, if you ask me. The right wing are nothing if not organized and expert at shouting down those who would speak reasonably.) What I'd love to see would be a speaker at a health-care town-hall (assuming he could be heard above the din) ask for a representative of the howling tea-birth mob to come to the podium for the opportunity to present reasoned arguments, and a counter-proposal. To have a debate on the issues. To describe the health insurance they currently have, what's happened to the premiums over the last ten years, read the fine print about exclusions.
Think there'd be any takers? And if so, is there any likelihood at all that the person would actually have facts at hand?
I'm not so naive as to have imagined the debate over health care would be fact-based and civil from start to finish, or that the right wing would be willing to participate in good faith. But I admit to surprise -- not to mention despondence -- at the depth to which the righties so readily sunk. Absent any good ideas, struggling with the tacit understanding that there really is a problem (if not a moral one, that our country can't provide care for all its citizens, then an economic one that the trajectory is undeniably toward unsustainable cost) yet unwilling, for purely political reasons (and, of course, the fact that their ideology is bereft), to help find solutions, these America-haters have resorted to their most reliable and well-practiced methods: lying, and disruption. That illegitimate foreign-born (not to mention foreign-looking) guy in the White House plans to kill your parents.
What bothers me isn't that the laughable idiots in Congress -- the creme de la creme of right wing thinking who have floated to the top like steatorrhea, the Boehners, the McConnells, the DeMints, the Coburns -- have behaved so predictably and venally. It's that so many of the very people whose access to care is threatened by maintaining the status quo have thoughtlessly bought into the pile o'crap that those guys are peddling.
It's almost as if it's part of a plan.
And yet, President Obama keeps trying to work with them. Good for him, I suppose. But when people are willing -- anxious, actually -- to lie and shout instead of helping, it seems a waste of good energy.