I wake everyday to the same nonsense over and over again. I have to listen to the opponents of health care make up claims about "death panels" and other extreme positions that have nothing to do with the proposed bill in Congress. I have to listen to people talk about how afraid they are of what is happening to their country and how we need to "take our country back". I have to listen to this supposed organic movement talk about how this country is on the road to socialism. I have to listen to senior citizens say that they want the government to keep its hands off their medicare. I have to listen to the right wing media talk about the 1st amendment when they spent the previous eight years calling anyone who opposed the President un-American, treasonous and worse. I have to listen to people compare our President to Adolf Hitler and the Democratic leadership to the Nazis. I have to listen to Glenn Beck appeal to his audience not to get violent over this protest and then joke about poisoning the Speaker of the House.
This is no longer a "debate" about health care reform. This becomes just another outlet for the Right to get out their talking points about the President. Could anyone with a brain actually believe that the Congress would pass a law that sets up "death panels"? Of course not, but why let that stop them. But if you keep shouting socialism! and fascism! and Hitler! and Nazi! long and loud enough, you may just get some people to pay attention. People who oppose the President not because of what he stands for, but because of who he is are very attuned to the buzz words of the campaign to defeat health care reform. After all, they don't want someone who wasn't even born in America to tell them what to do. And I won't even get into the fact of how corporations get citizens to work against their own self interest (that is a story for another day).
There is real anger in this country, but it's not about health care reform. I think the vast majority of people in this country would be in favor of a system that stops the insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Or stops the insurance companies from increasing rates if you happen to make a claim against your coverage. Or lowers costs so that even poor Americans can get coverage. Those are universally helpful measures. The real anger in this country comes from the person pushing the message. While the Clinton health reform push was defeated by misinformation, fear, and millions from the insurance companies, this attempt at health reform might be defeated by hate.
The opponents of this President "want their country back". Well, I hate to be the one to tell them this but "their country" doesn't exist anymore and that is a good thing. Our last election proved to me (and if you read this blog, you will know that I was extremely skeptical) that this country has indeed moved on in a way. The country that allowed the Republicans to dominate the Presidential elections for the previous 40 years, has indeed changed. The fallout from the Civil Rights Act that allowed the Republicans to tap into white, southern anger has finally run its course. I believe what we are seeing now are the death throes of that movement. The loud, angry, vitriolic death throes of a movement whose time has past.
These are indeed desperate times for those who long for the days when white equalled right. The influx of Hispanics into the mainstream of this country scares the hell out of them (John McCain's vote against the confirmation of Sonya Sotomayor was his first against ANY nominee to the supreme court). Having a Black President scares the hell out of them. Losing control scares the hell out them. There was a day when these things weren't possible. There was a day when they controlled the "debate" in this country. There was a day when fear of the known and unknown kept us from fulfilling our destiny as a nation. I can only hope that day has passed. The anger is real and loud, but at the end of the day it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.