Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I know I'm not the only freaked out person

I know that others are as frightened and concerned about the nutjobs amassing at these health care town hall meetings in the States. Nazi symbols, constant comparisons between Obama and Hitler (because his health care policies are the one thing for which Hitler is best known), and people showing up with guns. And assault rifles. I don't think I need to go into detail about the lunacy of equating your right to bear arms and carry an assault rifle to the president's town hall meeting with the fight against health care for everyone. In fact, if anyone ever gets seriously hurt while protesting against universal health care, they should probably be left there just to see if they succumb to their injuries.

No need to go into detail about the misinformation being disseminated all over the media (well, Fox News, anyway) about Obama's health care plan. Death panels and socialized medicine and killing the elderly to pay for illegal immigrants and all that. Suffice it to say, that is equally bonkers. Not as bonkers as the secret service allowing people to hang on to their assault rifles outside the building where the president is speaking, but bonkers nonetheless. What I can't wrap my head around, however, is why. I understand some people are against universal health care, presumably because it would help poorer people live longer and that would be a tragedy. But what amazes me is the vitriol from some of those poorer people, the very people who absolutely need this program to succeed.

Like the one guy who showed up at a town hall in order to shout down the Democratic speaker who was trying to explain health care, then got into a fight outside and was taken to hospital. He's now online, trying to drum up donations from people to help pay his medical bills. Seriously. But even that doesn't perplex me that much. There are enough Glenn Becks and Dick Morrises and losers like them who can drum up rabid, mouth-frothing public support for even the most wrong-headed and idiotic "cause". It's the disinformation that I don't get. Why lie? Why make up death panels and all this other bs? If you're against the program, why not just say so, explain why, and say it will cost too much or whatever. Why invent the Obama's-gonna-kill-grandma thing?

I guess you could chalk the whole thing up to American politics - it's a bloodsport and all that. And lying about everything is the best way to make sure nothing ever gets done. But are the insurance companies really so powerful that they can get ordinary Americans to shout down elected leaders at town hall meetings over something they don't understand at all? Well, no - but they are so powerful that they can get unstable, already-on-the-edge racist gun toting Americans to do so. If the insurance companies have that much power, then it obviously is time to overhaul that system thoroughly. And fast.

One more thing - the thing that bugs me the most. Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck and all that pointing to Canada and the UK as examples of why "socialized" medicine doesn't work, and why it's awful. There was an ad featuring two women from the UK running for a while, where they complained about their health care system. Now both are totally miffed that their comments were taken out of context and put into an ad. You see, they really like their health care system. But us? Canada? I know, a lot of people are upset with the state of our health care system. And yes, Canada's system is broken, it is in need of a massive overhaul, and it could use improvement just about everywhere.

But if any of you out there think the American system is better, and you agree with the idea that Canada is a good example of why the U.S. should not adopt universal health care, think about this. Imagine, just for a moment, that rabid, nutty right-wingers ran away with the health care debate in our country. And imagine that, in the next federal election, Stephen Harper and the Conservatives ran on a platform of eliminating universal health care and privatizing the whole industry. Picture the results of that election and ask yourself if they would win even one seat.

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