Thursday, August 13, 2009

Civil Wars

Stepping back from the madness of the health care reform fracas, it is hard to believe anymore that we have a political process capable of making sweeping policy reforms, no matter how necessary the change may be.

We have a health care system that is appallingly expensive and does not provide adequate access to medical care for our people. There are a great many people going to extraordinary lengths to keep it that way. These include professionals in the health care industry, their highly-paid lobbyists, and elected lawmakers.

An organizer of protests at town halls admitted on a recent conference call that killing health reform is necessary in order to deliver a political defeat to the Democratic President: "The goal is not compromise, and ANY bill coming out this year would be a failure for us…"

For a political victory, a great many people are willing to put other Americans to death. Much has been made in the news media of scuffles at town hall meetings, shouting down lawmakers who try to discuss health policy with their constituents. The temperature is rising as the most shameless and unbelievable lies are spread in order to frighten and enrage the ignorant. Guns have been brought to town halls and demonstrations. Congressman David Scott found his office defaced by nazi swastikas. Death threats have been called in to lawmakers. The talking heads on major television networks comparing Democrats to nazis is not slowing down, and yesterday a United States Senator repeated the popular lie that Obama wants to euthanize the elderly, and said to the crowd, "You have every right to be afraid."

At this rate, I think it is likely there will be deadly event. When it comes, will we be astonished? As Labor Day approaches, I have been remembering the staggering number of people who died over a concept so basic as the eight-hour work day. I am remembering major companies, trusted names in American life, who directed private guards to open fire on striking employees, on a number of occasions.

We are a country of numerous unofficial civil wars.

Those who are defending a health scare system that kills people -- to put it more benignly, it causes preventable deaths and denies justice and dignity to those it fails -- are quite literally defending a higher margin of profit over a lower margin of human death.

We need a not-for-profit health care system. We are not going to get it. This is civil war. It is a house divided against itself. Euthanizing the elderly? No. We are euthanizing the poor, the unemployed, the unconnected.

Greatest country in the world.


Pam said...

I would never condone any of the violence implied or intended. I also agree that we need some kind of healthcare overhaul.

That being said, I think many people are appalled at the amount of money being thrown at this and that as we try to shore up a shaky economy and try to do the health care system.

Many people weren't happy when Bush expanded the reach of government into our lives. They see more and more of that even under Obama.

Like it or not, paranoid or not, many citizens fear the overexpanding and overreaching of the Federal Govt. as it dips into our already lean pocket books and into our personal business.

The health care debates, townhalls, etc, reflect that in as much as they are about more government in general rather than just health care specifically.

Also, there is so much disinformation and lack of specifics at this point. That holds for both sides. Costs are off the chart and it scares people.

Many people feel that so much is being hurled at them without time to really get a handle on the best way to approach things.

This is a HUGE undertaking and it's not a simple one (otherwise we'd have done it a long time ago). I happen, personally, to believe that the place to start is with the those who are not already insured for whatever reason.

Costs have to be contained and the cost projections have to be as honest and real as possible.

Promises can't be made that even smart kids don't we can have it all without piling on the middle class or piling on the deficit that's already out of control.

Those in favor of the current proposals gloss over the very real issues of access and, if you will, rationing. Yes, we already see rationing when it comes to insurance companies every day.

I think it's to some extent the 'rosy' picture that turn many people off as they know reality is not that rosy or simple or without sacrifices.

I get a headache just thinking about all the ways to go about improving our health care system. It's a mess and we need to start somewhere, agreed. We can't expect to ram through some half-baked reform that was concocted over just a few months.

People on both sides are up at arms at a goverment they feel is betraying them.

Algernon said...

Pam, you wrote this: "Many people weren't happy when Bush expanded the reach of government into our lives. They see more and more of that even under Obama."

Okay, it is your turn to offer some specifics. How has the Obama Administration expanded the reach of government into your life? I need specific policies, and "deficit spending" does not count.

Pam said...

OK, make that "perceived expanded reach".

That's not my personal opinion. I assume they are talking about the fear of more and more government takeover of banks, businesses, health care, etc.

I'm not a paranoid person. I don't feel that way myself. I saw government intervention into the economy to shore it up a necessity rather than 'overreaching'.

I can't give you any specifics in my personal life since I don't feel that way. You'd have to ask those people who are up at arms and worried about more and more government encroachment into their personal lives.

Also, I'm all for health care reform. I just don't have the answers as how to achieve it. And, frankly, I don't think the Congress does either.

Don D'Ammassa said...

We're already paying for most of the uninsured, since they cannot be denied treatment in an emergency room. It just gets added in to the bills for those of us who do have insurance.

Note the recent response by Barney frank to a heckler who said the bill resembles Nazi programs. "Madam, arguing with you would be like arguing with a dining room table."

AnarchyJack said...

Hi Algernon,

Physician and medical anthropologist, Paul Farmer, uses the term "structural violence." I heard him and several other noteworthy scholars speak in Tampa in 2005. I wish I could remember what Farmer spoke about, but only one thing stands out in my mind from that conference.

A cultural anthropologist spoke about her mother, a Polish physician who was conscripted by the Nazis (real ones--not the kind Rush Limbaugh and his sheep do so much bleating about) to treat prisoners in concentration camps. By giving prisoners medical care, the Nazis put a veneer of legitimacy over monstrous and inhuman acts. They would torture them and have physicians and psychiatrists see to them afterward--much as we are currently doing in Guantanimo Bay and other prisons. The Polish doctor was asked to treat people she knew would die at the hands of the very monsters who had brought her in to give the prisoners in the first place.

The APA's official position, up until the members revolted in 2007, was to assist the CIA in interrogations, which included but was not limited to sleep deprivation, stress positions, sensory deprivation and waterboarding. Again, a brutal force used physicians and psychologists to paint a veneer of legitimacy on monstrous acts.

Only the unapologetic right could see how services were being routed away from the health care needs of the poor and the uninsured, to be used for the creation of suffering and still connect the dots from Hitler to health care. With their free market ideology in tatters and their "moral high ground" debunked as the most pathetic and desperate form of hypocrisy, they seek to incite the ignorant and the fearful by creating images of "death panels" for the elderly--most of whom were children when the Third Reich fell.

But for those on the right who still think Nazis are behind the health care issue, I leave you with the following quotes:

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power. "

--Benito Mussolini

Like Blackwater?

"How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think. "

--Adolf Hitler

How fortunate for governments (and Fox News), indeed. But more importantly:

"[T]he people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

--Hermann Goering, convicted war criminal

It's an old Republican strategy, dating back to Joe McCarthy. And finally:

"Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media. "

--Noam Chomsky

How fortunate for Rush Limbaugh and others in the Republican party that the people are so ridiculously and willingly uninformed.