Favorite

Un-American? Alas, no 

U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln blundered last week and had to make a retracting apology for calling the actions of misinformed, boorish constituents “un-American.”

She was right to retract that. Misinformation and boorishness actually are all-American.

Our Constitution protects nonsensical, offensive and irresponsible expression. Some of our people like to take full advantage. You may legally burn a flag. You may wholly misrepresent the truth about what your president is trying to do on health care. You cannot get thrown in jail merely for being wrong and rude.

These people about whom Lincoln was complaining, and to whom she was then apologizing, are sometimes called “wing-nuts.” That is a boorish term itself. It refers to people on the emotion-consumed extremes of irrationality in American politics — to the right in this case, but the left can be just as genuinely all-American. These people are not in touch with, and don't seem much to desire, reality and informed perspective.

A swarm of these wingnuts of the right crammed into a public forum on health care last week at the Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock.

They assailed U. S. Reps. Mike Ross and Vic Snyder, who happen to be two of the more responsible and pragmatic members of Congress.

Ross is so catching it from both sides on the health care issue that you have to figure he has it close to right.

There is much to question about these proposed health care reforms: How are we going to pay for them? Might changes in Medicare reimbursements and regulations run the risk of impairing medical care for seniors? How exactly does the president intend for us to pay less for unnecessary tests and more for good health “outcomes”?

But those kinds of issues got lost in the hooting, heckling and shouting, all reflecting the most destructive of emotions, meaning fear, particularly of change.

It's not that these people disagree thoughtfully. It's that they loathe blindly. So let's separate some of the audience's fear and loathing from fact.

Fear and loathing — Government is taking over health care.

Fact — Government  long ago took over health care for seniors, veterans, poor people and many of our children. But, by current proposals, government would not take over health care for anyone else -- unless someone so chose.

Government would instead create a public insurance option to enter the marketplace and, as the idea goes, engender competitive efficiencies in a more vibrant private sector, in the way the Post Office presumably makes FedEx and UPS better.

Fear and loathing — President Obama advocates a single-payer system of national health insurance and Ross and Snyder are trying to help him.

Fact — Obama is taking heat from wingnuts on the left precisely for NOT advocating a single-payer system. He wants to preserve and encourage the employer-based system. Ross has been leading Democratic opposition even to Obama's centrist and incremental plan. He is protecting Blue Cross on the theory that small rural hospitals in his district can't survive the lower reimbursement rates of government competition with Blue Cross.

Fear and loathing — Obama's plan would pay doctors for euthanizing sick people. (Sarah Palin, one of the more famous wingnuts, posted on Facebook the other day that she fears Obama will set up “death panels” that will take the life of her child with Down Syndrome. Newt Gingrich, not wanting to offend wing-nuts in his potential political base, found a way to side with Palin. He did it by saying no one knows what might happen under government's “selective standards.”)

Fact — The House bill calls for giving doctors Medicare reimbursements for counseling Medicare-receiving seniors on their purely voluntary end-of-life options about living wills and whether to decline artificial extensions of life. Nobody would be forced to sit for such a session, much less sign anything. Nothing in the health care debate remotely threatens the medical care and protection of Palin's child.

Fear and loathing —This is all socialism.

Fact — It's a quasi-socialist component of a uniquely and time-honored American hybrid mix-and-match of capitalist and socialist principles, like Social Security and Medicare and bank bailouts.

A college student spoke up to say he was comforted by what the congressmen were saying. Some of the wingnuts hooted and one told the guy to get a job.

That was bad advice. It's a tough economy for jobs right now. Education is a greater need, obviously.

Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by John Brummett

  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • Can we talk? Can we get anywhere?

    Dialogue is good. It would be even better if someone would venture off script every once in a while.
    • Sep 21, 2011
  • More »

Most Shared

  • UPDATE: Retired Arkansas Arts Center director Townsend Wolfe dies at 81

    Townsend Durant Wolfe, III, retired director and chief curator of the Arkansas Arts Center, has died at 81.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Latest in John Brummett

  • Gone to the DoG

    We're now longer carrying John Brummett's column in this space.
    • Oct 12, 2011
  • Obstruction is the preferred conservatism

    Is there greater conservative virtue in opposing federal health reform, period, or in saying it ought to be implemented locally instead of from Washington in the event we are unavoidably laden with it?
    • Oct 5, 2011
  • A fate not quite as bad as prison for Lu Hardin

    There is no crime in being overly and transparently solicitous for the purposes of aggrandizement and personal political advancement. That's simply acute neediness, a common and benign human frailty.
    • Sep 28, 2011
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Event Calendar

« »

January

S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • A heart in this house

    Since Election Day, I have been at a loss as to how to direct my energy. I am spinning in circles.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Hillbillies

    • And still you never answer on the specifics I have raised - how am I…

    • on January 19, 2017
  • Re: Hillbillies

    • Pegess, please - and still you dodge it - Libya and Clinton - you tell…

    • on January 19, 2017
  • Re: Putin and Trump

    • Ah, yes, Boris and Natasha again - the lurid details of those e-mails that Lyons…

    • on January 19, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation