Friday, August 14, 2009
From Birther to Deather
h/t to Tim C. for the picture taken at the Obama health care town hall meeting in Portsmouth, NH - see more: Blue Hampshire
Who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory? US history is full of them. I was brought up with one of the most enduring of all. I was in second grade when JFK was assassinated. Was it the mafia, Fidel, the CIA, the KGB, J. Edgar Hoover or the Federal Reserve who ordered the hit? There are also those who believe the moon landing was faked, as was the holocaust, that there are extraterrestrials on an Air Force base in Nevada, that the Clintons had a hit list and murdered numerous people, and that the US government committed the terrorist acts against itself on 9/11. That’s just a sampling – there are so many more.
Apparently there can never be too many conspiracy theories. We now have the birthers – those who believe that Barack Obama was born in Kenya or is an Indonesian citizen, and his Hawaiian birth certificate is a fake. This theory has grown and flourished since the campaign. Some of the crazier members of the GOP in Congress have advanced this nuttiness – and of course it’s being spread by the lunatics of right wing talk radio and hate TV. CNN has seen ratings plummet because Lou Dobbs has been advancing this theory – and that tells us all we really need to know about where this all came from.
It’s all about skin pigmentation, baby. Barack Hussein Obama is different, he is other, he’s a Muslim, he’s a terrorist, he is not like us! Meaning, of course that he’s not Caucasian, and he has a funny name. White people (normal people) do not have funny names. Just ask any guy named Bubba.
The far right is veering off even further into the craze-o-sphere with this stuff. The opposition to Sonia Sotomayor was based on 3 things. She was nominated by a Democrat, she is a Latina, and she is a woman. All the other stuff was just filler to distract from those 3 things. The GOP is becoming the party of resentful white folks – and their water carriers in the media are only too happy to advance any crazypants theory that comes along.
The latest wearers of the crazypants are the deathers. Those are the folks telling you that Obama wants to kill Grandma. Sarah Palin telling you that a “death panel” would have voted to kill baby Trig. This is all related to the hysteria around the public option in Obama’s health insurance reform bill. The right is bleating about how this is all a plot to create gummint controlled health care.
Yessiree Bubba, the gummint would be making your medical decisions for you, according to the deathers. They are wonderfully silent on the current reality – which is that health insurance companies make medical decisions all the time. They tell you what doctors you can see, how long your treatment will last, how long you can stay in the hospital – and above all, whether or not the care you need will be covered by the insurance you’ve been paying ever increasing premiums for. A closer look at health care town hall meeting disruptors and protestors will show that the protestors are white, well-to-do, and many are Medicare age. Most of them don’t seem to grasp the fact that Medicare is a gummint run health care program.
The deathers bleat about how Obama wants not only to pay for abortions, but wants everyone to have one. This, of course, is not true – but since when is fact important? It’s estimated that upwards of 20,000 people die every year because they didn’t have health insurance. No concern for them. Only a lot of phony concern for the not even conceived yet.
The truth is that a public option would allow people choice in insurance. A public option would compete against the insurance companies. Free marketers claim that they want choice and competition – but really, they don’t. According to a report by Health Care for America Now (using data from the American Medical Association), there have been over 400 health insurance company mergers in the last 13 years. Less than a dozen companies now dominate the health insurance market. This is one reason premiums have increased as much as 300 percent in the last decade.
The national discourse on health insurance reform is dominated by the conspiracy theorists. The current system benefits the insurance companies, drug companies, and the politicians who take campaign donations from both of those entities. There is no responsible coverage of the health insurance industry. There is little coverage of the uninsured – or how their numbers are increasing, with unemployment on the rise. There is no responsible coverage of the deather movement. The death panels are a lie. No one is going to pull the plug on grandma. There is a provision that would pay for folks on Medicare to meet with counselors to help them with end of life decisions, like living wills. This is not mandatory. It is an option. It is a chance for people to make their own end of life decisions – because if they do not, someone else will do it for them.
The current discourse also benefits the corporate owned media, who suffer from the same monopoly problem as the health insurance industry. Instead of debunking lies, the mainstream media has devoted most of their time to covering the disruptors and protestors at health care town hall meetings. This is, by the way, the goal of the far right – to grab the media attention, continue to feed the resentment of angry white folks, and perpetuate lies – thereby maintaining the status quo.
Signs seen outside President Obama’s health care town hall in Portsmouth:
“ Hey America you want change? Hitler did to.”
“ B.H. Obama go home to Kenya.”
“Stop the Trojan Horse of Islam”
“Commies Love Obaba socialism ask Putin”
printed as an op-ed in the Conway Daily Sun on August 14, 2009
© s bruce 2009
Posted by susanthe at 12:23 PM