I still have only been following our so-called health care "debate" from a considerable distance, but I was still able to glean a few insights from the newspaper and the television news. Much of this centers around the now notorious "town halls" that have been held by our politicians across the country to give their constituents a venue to discuss this. Or more appropriately, yell really loud and pound their fists about it.
The Republicans have sent their "brownshirt" supporters out in force to gather around this issue, and they have been raised in a fanatic stupor by the likes of Rush Limgaugh and Glenn Beck, who have supplied them with plentiful amounts of misinformation about the various reform proposals out there. Among other things, they have been led to believe that the bills permit illegal immigrants to receive free health care as well (which is not true) and that health care will be tightly rationed (I'm not sure if this is true; but don't our private health care companies already do this? Between denying treatments, keeping the patient contained within a "network" of doctors and specialists, and denying health coverage to millions based on a "pre-existing condition", the HMOs are notroious for rationing health care). So, in the end, any message from the right-wing brownshirts who gather at these halls should be taken as "we don't want to get anally raped by the gub'mint, but we're willing to get anally raped by private, non-accountable HMOs".
It's also upsetting me by how our so-called news media (especially television) frame this story. All you have been seeing and hearing about are these wild-eyed lunatics raising hell at the town halls, but it's been shown (via polls and the like) that a majority of Americans crave health care reform. At the height of the Vietnam War, President Nixon coined a famous term, "the silent majority". This alluded to a large majority of people who did not express their views publicly, or in that instance, Americans who supported the war. Despite how wrong-headed they were, this was indeed the case. But if you lived in that time and watched the evening news, you'd think that anti-war protestors represented the majority view of America. But alas, and unfortunately, they did not.
I also think there is a "silent majority" in support of health care reform, and this time, they are on the right side of history, but once again, the media is downplaying this.
Lastly, and this hasn't been said by too many people (either pro-or-con), but I think there is a strong racial component at work here. Notice how many of these backwoods extremists yelling at the town halls are typically poor, uneducated, and white. This was the same crowd that many people saw at the McCain-Palin rallies at the height of the last election.
I have never said this before, but prior to the last election, I was mulling over whether to vote third-party or stay home, and I was leaning toward the latter. But I listened to a radio program, in which snippets of people at one of these McCain rallies were broadcast. Among the remarks I heard were "if Obama gets in, the blacks will take over", "he looks at us like we're trash", "we can't let a nigger get in the White House", and so on. As cynical as I was of Obama, and continue to be, I just could not accept a McCain White House, and the supporters that he would represent. Listening to these people was blood-curdling. So, yeah, I voted for Obama out of fear of the same people who are going to ridculous lengths to make their voices heard at these meetings.
These people are frantic because they fear being a permanent minority in America, both demographically and politically. This is a do-or-die battle for the Republicans. If they lose, they will be a minority party, perhaps permanently. If they win, and Obama fails at health care reform (like Clinton and others before him), this will be "his Waterloo", as one senator said. This is what is really at the heart of this battle, in my opinion. Health care itself has little to do with it. And the same people raising hell (white, uneducated, probably poor) at these meetings, ironically, are the ones most likely to benefit from health care reform, while paying the least amount of money.