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Summer of Stupefaction: The Baffling Fight By Ordinary Americans To Defeat Healthcare Reform

By       Message Mike Cowie     Permalink
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This piece originally appeared on September 4th, 2009 on the MikesAndDislikes site here and on the website of local Vancouver paper The Georgia Straight here.

"The best test of a civilised society is the way in which it treats its most vulnerable and weakest members."

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- Mahatma Gandhi

That the majority of the rich and powerful in America, particularly those on the right, are vehemently opposed to universal healthcare and instead support the present free-market private insurance system is hardly surprising. Clearly they have nothing to fear, as it's highly unlikely that they will ever find themselves without coverage and they're certainly never going to be choosing between treatment and bankruptcy.

This stance - though truly despicable, completely devoid of compassion and totally self-absorbed - isn't really all that difficult to understand. It's simply the latest manifestation of that age-old philosophy: "Hey, I'm alright. Screw everyone else!"

What IS extremely hard to figure out, however, is the mindset of all these regular, ordinary working class and middle class right-wing nut-jobs who have been showing up all summer long at these town hall meetings chanting:

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"Socialism! Communism! Stalinism!!"

Not to mention: "Obama is Hitler!!"

And: "Better dead than North Korean or Canadian!"

I mean, seriously, what's up with these people anyway? Don't they understand just how much they potentially have to lose?

They may be feeling quite secure about their insurance coverage today, but that could so very easily change tomorrow.

Wouldn't it just be so karmically perfect if, after battling so incredibly hard to defeat the implementation of a universal healthcare system, they found themselves unemployed, unwell and uninsured?

Now, obviously, I don't really want that to happen to anyone, but it is something that's hard not to think about when you see these people so passionately arguing against something that is - regardless of what they may have heard to the contrary on FOX News - for the long-term good of not just the nearly 50 million presently uninsured, but the whole country, including - at least potentially - themselves and their kids and grandkids.

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A Communist Scheme?

You can, of course, argue that Obama's present plan is seriously flawed and that what the country really needs is a single-payer system - and I'd be the first to agree - but what these people are arguing against is not the specifics of this particular plan, they're arguing against the very idea of having any sort of government-run plan to begin with.

What they seem to be oblivious to is the fact that America already has a universal, socialized, government-run, single-payer healthcare system. At least for everyone over 65. It's called Medicare. And I certainly haven't heard many of these right-wing town hall shouters, yellers and screamers calling Medicare a Communist scheme.

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Mike Cowie is a 42-year-old freelance writer, who lives together with his wife and son just outside of Vancouver, B.C. After spending 15 years living, travelling and working overseas Mike returned to live in Canada back in 2004. His final trip, (more...)

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