The well-organized thugs who are disrupting the grassroots democracy at town hall meetings, to discuss the vital issue of health care reform, have the audacity to compare President Obama with Hitler, Stalin, and other dictators: They say that "Obama care" will produce "death warrants" for seniors and millions of others, by the denial of life-saving care or even by euthanasia.
Isn't that more or less what our private insurance health "care" system has been doing for years -- producing worse health outcomes than for people in most other industrialized nations -- and charging us a pretty penny -- up to twice as much per person as in other countries -- for the "privilege"?
If anyone is behaving like fascists, it's not our democratically elected president and Congress -- who are trying to discuss this life-and-death issue with their constituents like, oh I don't know, grown-ups; but who are being shouted down and pushed around and stalked and threatened with death by big, let's face it, bullies.
Well-coordinated bullies. How has the Right been so successful in uniting support for these disgraceful, decidedly un-American tactics? The two bedrocks of the Right have come together, each with their own agenda.
The big-business, fat cat Right is united against health care reform not only because they include big insurers who can't compete against a public option without giving up some of the big profits they've been skimming off the top -- money that should go to help sick people -- but also because the president and most of the congressional leadership are trying to pay for the reforms not just with cost-savings in Medicare but also by surcharging the rich (who would still have more of the nation's wealth in their hands than at any time since the Great Depression).
And the evangelical, "pro-life" Right is united by claims that those "death warrants" will end up more or less resulting in "abortion for all" -- a killing off of all those who are too expensive to care for or save. Uh, again, isn't that exactly what the current system is doing?
And then there are some "independents" who just don't like or trust that "Kenyan" in the White House. It's not that they're racist; it's just that they don't trust "those people" (whoever "those people" are ... basically anybody but one's paranoid self) -- especially if "they" want to take "our" guns. As some of the nut cases are saying now, if we don't like our First Amendment rights of speaking freely being quashed, they'll exercise their Second Amendment rights to bear arms. How "American"!
All in all, these bullies at town halls remind me of those in the German Beer Hall (Putsch) ...
Who is demanding democracy and who is trying to shut it down?
The rabid Right's got one thing right, though: There are indeed millions of lives at stake -- those suffering and dying needlessly, for the excess profit of others, under the current system.
My late father rarely got angry. But when he once heard, years ago, that there were bullies in the boys' room at high school who were keeping the other guys out, Dad said he'd be really pissed -- at me -- if I let them keep me from "doing my business" whenever I wanted to.
Just remember, inside every bully is a coward, overcompensating with shouts, fists, or even firearms. If we want those folks to run things -- and they've been with us from time immemorial -- then go ahead and let them.
But if we want to preserve and defend our democratic republic and all it stands for -- What could be more quintessentially American than a town hall meeting? -- then we cannot let bullies tell us what to do, or keep us from saying what needs to be said (and we likewise need to defend the rights of those who disagree with us, civilly, to speak their piece ... who knows, we might not be right about everything).
Ignore the bullies when you can -- so many of them just want attention, the big babies -- but in any case, do not let them win. We're fighting for the heart and soul and lives of our nation just as much as the patriots we admire in books and statues or our men and women in uniform under fire.
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