Hello, people. I haven't been around much lately. I've been thinking about stuff, just not writing about it.
One of the things I've been thinking about is health care. (Really? You're, like, the only one. Nobody's talking about it.)
You know, we all had a lovely series of moments when Obama was elected and took office. Hurray, America. We elected a black man. The Bush/Cheney era was ending. It was cleansing. It was wonderful. A new day was dawning.
Bullshit. Utter fucking bullshit. We are now seeing just how dishonest and depraved this nation really is.
Obama was never a flaming liberal. He was always a pragmatic centrist "liberal". I knew he was in trouble almost immediately upon taking office when the stimulus bill, for which Obama spent a lot of time attempting to get Republican buy-in got, oh, zero Republican votes. The red flag was not that the bill got no Republican votes. I kind of expected that. The red flag was that Republicans and their enablers in the supposedly liberal media howled with fury about how partisan Obama was being. "He never consulted us! This bill was supposed to be bipartisan and it's the most partisan bill ever! He's a fraud!" I knew at this point that nothing would be easy and that there was nothing, literally nothing he could do to get anything worthwhile done. Bipartisanship requires two willing parties. And we were at least one short. Country first? Nuh-uh.
And here we are at health care, a big issue for folks and one for which there is broad support among the American electorate. Here's a lovely New York Times poll showing that 72% of Americans support a government-run health plan. 72%! Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get 72% of Americans to agree on anything? We can't get 72% of Americans to agree that torture is a bad thing. Yes, torture, which is unequivocally and unambiguously illegal under domestic and international law, not to mention immoral and ineffective. But 72% were for a public plan. And 7% had no opinion in the health care poll, which means only 20% of Americans opposed it. That's slightly more than the number that like Dick Cheney. And athlete's foot.
And yet, where are we with the public option (which, by the way, is only a shadow of what we should be moving towards, which is universal single-payer)? Well, it's about to be killed. Why? Because of a few people shouting at town hall meetings, per the direction of a few right-wing and corporate-sponsored groups, and media ass monkeys all around the joint.
I really don't have the strenght to go into the details right now, which you undoubtedly know already, but suffice it to say that every single argument I've heard against a public plan, let alone single-payer, has contained at least one whopping big fat honking lie. Not an untruth, not a stretch, not a minor prevarication, but something grossly, demonstrably false. Death panels! 6-month waits! No choices! Government takeover! Tyranny! All of it patently untrue and promoted relentlessly by the insurance industry and Fox News. Surprise surprise.
For crying out loud, they took out end-of-life care counseling (counseling!) because apparently it was easier to do so than to just explain why the death panel idea was a lie. How low must your opinion of the American people be when you can't debunk something so easily debunked?
Not low enough, apparently. Because now they're talking about taking the public option out of the mix. Why? Because lying works. That's how stupid we are. Congratulations, insurance industry. This is an absolute triumph of propaganda. You've managed to take a topic about which there was broad consensus and make it seem like an apocalyptic gummint nightmare to which the villagers were revolting with the pitchforks and the torches in an inspiring show of democracy in action.
Hey, Congress. If you're thinking of passing a bill that can't even include something so modest, and for which there was such support, for fear of pissing off a few yahoos and the corporations whose bidding they do, don't bother, okay? I can't bear the thought of you and the president congratulating yourselves for doing something worse than doing nothing.
I have officially lost all of the good feelings I had about this country around the turn of last year. My opinion of this country is actually lower than it was during the nightmare that was the Bush administration. And that is really saying something.
4 days ago