Saturday, August 15, 2009

The New Terrorists are American

This is a political post.

In this country we have a system. Every so often we sit down and we all vote and decided that the great ship of state either should stay the course or change direction. It was devised ages ago by our founding fathers, a system that guides this great state we call home on a slow path towards the future.

And in this country we lament for those without our freedoms. Of other states whose governments are not ruled by law or civil discourse, but people screaming in the streets and threats of death. We decry the places where uninformed and narrow minded people are manipulated by a powerful few into mobs and feel compelled to use fear and force to get a point across, one that serves no purpose for the greater good other than to keep those in power in power....

This is what you would say if you lived in Australia or maybe New Zealand and were talking down to America.

Yes. Down to us. Because with Democratic senators by the score receiving death threats for supporting health care reform in this country you begin to wonder if this America or some third world nation run by some feverish religious coalition. And in the America I grew up in, if you didn't like what the government did you marched, you carried signs and gathered signatures, you organized and got the word out, and you got legislation passed and went to court, but showing up to see the President with a gun got you jail time and screaming at elected officials meant you were nuts.

You see the new terrorists aren't Muslim or Iraqi or live in the Middle East or live in caves and want us all to die. The new terrorists are American, who eat at Denny's, live in nice neighborhoods and root for home team on Saturdays. But they're just as uneducated, just as uninformed as that frustrated follower of Islam on the far side of the world who joins the "cause" because he sees an idealistic way of life (that doesn't actually exist) threatened. The new terrorists disrupt meetings with displays of anger, spewing forth emotionally charged nonsense. They quote conjecture and use their fury to deflect honest conversation and dialogue. The new terrorist is the suddenly "powerless" (not realizing they had no power before), the suddenly wrong in the face of the facts, the people afraid of change.

I say uninformed, as the idea that the government would hold "death hearings" to decide if someone will be productive to society is patently absurd and a baldface lie. Especially in light of the fact that our current system of private insurers do actually do have "death panels", those actuaries and executives that routinely deny healthcare and discontinue coverage letting people die in the interest of profit.

I say uninformed, as the protesters demand the government "keep it's hands off medicare", what I guess they consider a well run system, when medicare IS a government program, and it's very existence proves that the government won't kill old people or decide that autistic children will be put to death, and that the government CAN run a health program.

I say people afraid of change because the current system they scream and holler to keep will bankrupt itself much like Wall Street did, and this time it won't take our money but our lives doing it. And instead of embracing the possibility, the protesters embrace the concept of static. But that leads nowhere.

And I call them terrorists because they employ the use of fear and raw emotion instead of fact and information. Congressmen receiving death threats over legislation designed to help 50 million Americans? Although the President flubbed the line, his statement is true. Much as the existence of the post office did not stop the creation of or threaten the future existence of companies like UPS and FedEx, a "public" option for healthcare wouldn't destroy the whole system. What it does it is offer an alternative, and to some degree keeps the private companies honest and striving to differentiate themselves. Knowing that if they charge too much customers will go to the Post Office makes UPS more efficient and a better firm, in an effort to keep costs and therefore prices down.

That the word "socialist" now fills in for both 1950's fear mongering terms "communist" and the "N" word is a whole other matter. The fact that we've lived in a blend of capitalism and socialism since the 1930s seems to have escaped everyone.

The grand problem of playing with terrorists, and by playing I mean taking them on, is that to defeat them you have to get even nastier than they do. One of the things that happens in countries that promote terrorist activities is the demonetization of the enemy. The problem is once you've won, how do you turn it off? As soon as one "enemy" is defeated, a new one will have to be manufactured to sustain the only thing that gives the group life. In Iraq, as the Americans left, the terrorists began attacking forces of the law in general. It will take a generation before it calms again. Do we really want that here?

I find it amazing that despite the fact that Wall Street ate itself and had to be bailed out by the US government in the last 18 months goes by the boards when someone says we need to stop the Healthcare industry before it does the same. History's lessons appear to be forgotten even quicker than normal in this digital "instant" age. The idea that we can fix this now, create a blended system of a baseline system of care with premium care for those who want to afford it seems to have been lost on the masses.

Do those who disagree with healthcare reform need to shut up and get with the program? Hell no, we live in America. But in America we have a way of doing things, and quite frankly this methodology ain't it.

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