Calhoun’s Can(n)ons for August 14, 2009
Forget the Two Aspirins, Just Call Your Local Death Panel In The Morning
You know the country’s jumped the shark when Congresspeople hold Town Hall meetings on a complicated issue like health care and instead of an intelligent discussion, they end up having to suggest that maybe the angry, booing, sign-waving disruptive audience members would be better off if they stopped listening to batshit crazy people like TV “personality,” Glen Beck.
Or when a crowd filled with Show Me Missourians all shouting about Socialized Medicine are asked by their representative to raise their hands if they have Medicare, and a sea of hands go up. Then they’re asked to raise their hands if they have Medicare and they want to see that program eliminated and no hands go up.
Or when President Obama has to go on TV to roll his eyes and ‘splain that, No, there are no Death Panels in the health bill, despite what Sarah Palin or Senator Grassley said, sigh.
How did Americans get so stupid? Or so easily fooled and manipulated by corporate/political special interests? When did Missourians not only forget how to connect some easy dots, but apparently now can’t even find the dots in the first place? When did we stop being brave, capable people and turn into frightened, gullible little Big Sillies? What the hell has happened to this country, anyway?
Of course, the folks putting together this Rube Goldbergian Health Bill need a slap upside the head. Instead of reinventing the wheel with some sort of wildly complex state-by-state, medical co-ops or group policies for a pretend Potemkin Village “public option,” just allow the public to sign up for Medicare. There. Simple. Done. Public option’s taken care of without having to reinvent anything. Then Congress can fix and improve Medicare by reducing the fraud, fixing the payment schedules and move it from too often wasteful fee for service to a best practices/outcomes-based Mayo Clinic type system. And if private insurance can offer a better deal, let the competition commence.
Then maybe we can have a discussion about what’s really going on inside of so many of us that can account for all this batshit crazy stuff that’s oozing out from under the floorboards. Like the guy who attended a political town hall meeting (where President Obama was speaking) while wearing a side arm and carrying a sign about watering the tree of Liberty with the blood of tyrants who then went on TV to explain to Chris Mathews that there is no connection between the gun, the sign and the President, that he’s simply a serious Constitutional scholar attending a public meeting and anyway, people in New Hampshire regularly go about their daily business with loaded guns on their hips. Now there’s a guy who’s in serious denial about what’s really moving him into such fearful dark waters.
So, no, very little of this is really about “health care.” So what is it? A tiny handful of Phony Astroturf “citizens groups” being manipulated by K-Street lobbyists representing Big Pharma and the insurance industry – Harry and Louise on steroids – who will do anything to kill off any reform so as to continue to rape and pillage the pocketbooks of the sign-waving people hollering about “socialized medicine?”
Or is the dark nightmare heart of Sarah Palin’s “real America” (Myth: white, prosperous, Norman Rockwell small town; Reality: white, poor, rust-belted, expendable), finally catching on that the racial and population demographic is changing and they will no longer have the luxurious delusion of thinking that they’re king of the heap? Worse, with the economic meltdown, has “real America” finally caught on that they’ve been complicit in being played for suckers for years by the Wall Street Boys and their water-carrying shills in Congress? Or perhaps it has now finally sunk in that Sarah’s beloved “real America” has never been anything other than Corporate American road kill?
Is that what’s really eating so many of us? If so, then America better start talking truthfully. No more phony manipulated side-shows, no hidden agendas, skip the buzzed code words, forget the displacement aggression. Time for a serious national dialogue about race, class, status, power, money, death and fear itself – all the dangerous lizard-brain topics your Mother told you weren’t fit subjects for polite conversation. But those are exactly the things we need to deal with honestly in the public square and around the dining room table. If we don’t, if we stay Stuck on Stupid, we’ll lose a unique opportunity to start making our country work effectively for all of us once again.