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I was half-listening to NPR this afternoon at work, sort of semi-consciously taking in today’s slate of craptacularly crappy news: Suu Kyi convicted again in Myanmar [check!]; seventy percent of women in the eastern Congo may have been victims of rape by their army so far [nice work, crazy assholes]; the whole world’s coral reefs may be dead within our lifetimes [just terrific…next?]; teabaggers and brownshirts continue to disrupt attempts at having town halls on health care [of course they do, let’s move on, please…]; and then I heard something that momentarily stopped me in my tracks. It was this statement, recorded at an anti-Obama rally outside his town hall meeting today in New Hampshire and aired on All Things Considered: “If I want socialism, then I’ll go back to pre-World War II Germany!”

Now I have never been accused of over-estimating the intelligence and reasoning faculties of these kinds of rabid nutjobs. I do not believe I am on record anywhere as averring that they may hold anything inside their skulls any more lively and sapient than a moldy dishtowel. So such a piece of dumbassity as that statement should have come as nothing remarkable to me, but I found myself playing it back in my head and parsing its possible meanings and implications.

“If I want socialism, then I’ll go back to pre-World War II Germany!”

I thought to myself, “Hoh. Lee. Shit. That’s bloody brilliant! I would have been happy enough if the dude had just said he might as well leave the country (and good riddance! And don’t let the door slam your ass on the way out!). But he’s suggesting leaving our time entirely!” I started wishing that he could possibly be literally serious about it. If things became so socialistic here—and presumably worse, in his view, than conditions in Nazi Germany—and he decided to get out, then how would he do it? Is he like the Time Traveller from the Wells story? Or would he jump through the Guardian of Forever? Try to hitch a ride in the TARDIS?”

“If I want socialism, then I’ll go back to pre-World War II Germany!”

So, obviously, this fine exemplar of that species of American that I usually call The Indignant White Douche—you know the type: all insecure and self-righteously mad and quivery-lipped and quavery-voiced about all the perceived attacks on his douchy middle class assumptions of privelege and entitlement—was saying in his dimwitted way something like: “If Obama is going to turn America into a totalitarian socialist dictatorship, then we might as well be living in Nazi Germany. Because that would better than what Obama has in store for us. Better: Nazi Germany was better than what Obamamerica will be. I’m totally fine with the fascism and the Holocaust and the other excesses of the Nazi regime. Totally cool with all that. That was much better than what this furreign-born President is planning to do to me.”

But I’m going to focus more on the literal words he said. The word “back” in this statement can, of course, be taken as “back in time to the days of Nazi Germany.” But it could also be read as “back to Nazi Germany, where I came from in the first place.” Considering the political tactics that these people have decided that they must employ—since they can never win by debating the facts or letting their opponents speak—it seems to me that the time-travel solution is perfect win/win outcome for everyone: this man and his buddies can all go back to Nazi Germany where they will be right at home in Hitler’s Reich where everything is black and white (well, more white, really) while the rest of us who stay on in the twenty-first century can resume a sane process of arriving at a sensible and fair reform of health insurance.

But before seeing these creeps off on their time travel trip back to their proper home and era, I would be tempted to ask this guy exactly how many fewer years that he figures that J and I deserve to live as compared to himself and his family members. I’d like an honest answer, if he could give one. What would he say? Five years? Ten years? You see, J and I do not have health insurance nor any affordable means of getting any. I have not myself been examined medically one single time in my life since I was admitted to the hospital after a seizure when I was 18 years old (I’m almost 38 now). I wonder if I am developing any chronic diseases? Maybe some cancer somewhere that I can’t feel yet. But I won’t be finding out until it’s too late because I won’t be going to the doctor.  When I get sick enough, and it gets really serious, I will go to an emergency room.

 J was admitted at the emergency room a couple years ago for what they think was an acute attack of pancreatitis. They stabilized him as they must do by law even for people without insurance, but no further examination or treatment was offered. But he accumulated thirty thousand dollars of medical bills during this episode anyway, and all the “Keep Your Hands of My Health Care” douchebags are living in a fuckin’ fantasy land even trippier and nuttier than their visions of Obama’s Soviet conquest of Amurrrica if they think that those bills are ever going to get paid by us. Scenarios like ours play out all over the country every day. So when people say that the health care system is just fine the way it is (with their “I got mine” attitude), they are basically saying that they deserve to be healthier and also probably live longer than me and mine. Which means I will feel little sympathy for them when they get their way this year, torpedo national health insurance reform, and the system continues to degrade until eventually they themselves lose their jobs and their health insurance, or their employers quit offering coverage. Since it’s only fifty million Americans who don’t have insurance right now (out of over 300 million), maybe it’s easy to ignore us. I wonder what will happen, though, when that swells to 100 million, or 150 million.  Afraid of “socialism” now?  Just wait, assholes. 


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 12th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC)
It's all about fear. People foam at the mouth about the fact that we have a democratic president with a funny name who respects a woman's right to choose, will choose diplomacy when possible over war, and who is black.

The media, big business, religious leaders, and the political right have all drummed up this fear that universal health care is about taking away freedoms and disrespecting human life and health. It is a familiar tactic: take what is wrong with the current state of things and pin those faults on the proposed solution. But magnify how terrible it will be.

And the thing in, Obama isn't a miracle worker. He'll succeed some, he'll have failures. But we have such a partisan and politically mobilized society that the opposition is poised to tear and shred and diminish until all anyone who is not SUPER-ENGAGED knows about Obama is all these terrible things. It must be true, right?

Today on facebook, I saw a video of him talking about health reform that had been edited to appear as though he told a woman who wanted a pacemaker that she might need to settle for a pill. It only took me two minutes to fact-check and verify that it had been edited, but it was being passed around on FB as though fact.

So if we are fighting against something that is not real or has not been represented accurately, then what are we fighting against?

Left, Right. Democrat, Republican. Conservative, Liberal. It is all a smoke screen. All a joke. While this side fights to 'keep people from taking advantage of us and our way of life!!!' and the other side fights to try to create a society that seems just and fair and workable, Those titans of the media and big business glide serenely above it all, content and provided for.

Universal heath care MIGHT be a way to keep this country from falling totally apart. Healthy people can buy your products and watch Fox News, after all. But if people work and devote their times to a company's profit and can't expect to have health care when they get sick, and we are ok with that, then it is a sign of a failing system.

Aug. 12th, 2009 03:53 pm (UTC)
I think you're right. Also, I think what has happened over the lat 30 years in this country is that nearly everyone has bought into the kooky idea that every single thing that anyone does needs to be solely about profit. I think health, in a modern developed civilization, needs to be regarded more as a standard expectation--even a legal right--like there being a school available for your kids or the expectation that a fire truck will come if you call 911 when your house is burning down. These same pricks who are all wrapped up in their Indignant Douche huff about socialism sure as shit expect there to be cops at their beck and call. These are the same people who are just fine with the FCC (a government regulatory agency) providing for free use of airwaves by TV channels and setting rules against "obscenity." Is that Big Government? How about this nutty example: Maybe I want to be able to watch hardcore porn on free over-the-air television and don't give a crap if my neighbor doesn't want his kids to be able to see the same thing, just like he doesn't care if I get sick and die because I can't medical care. It's the Market, man! The Market will Decide! Fuck that. I don't buy the whole concept. I reject it. Not everything needs to be the market.

BTW, back to the FCC, the Supreme Court recently upheld the FCC's right to fine broadcaster for "fleeting profanity" on broadcast TV. Hmm. I guess that kills my pitch for a new reality show: CHRIS AND JEFF UNTANGLING CHRISTMAS LIGHTS IN AN ICE STORM.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )