By Lynn Paris
There are several totally revolting images that stick out in my mind from the past couple of weeks. One is of Republicans, who had just shut down the government, pretending to be heroes by making sure veterans could enter the WW II memorial. Cynical shots of senior citizens in wheelchairs being denied access to their memorial by, according to the Republican mythmakers, Obama’s shutdown.
Of all the photos I saw, the one that made me the sickest was of Michelle Bachmann flanked by two elderly vets, sanctimoniously getting her photo taken “standing up for their rights.” Bachmann, who doesn’t care that these same veteran’s grandchildren might need those food stamps she and her crazy cohorts denied them. Bachmann, who didn’t care that there were, at the very same time that she courageously posed for a picture, hundreds of thousands of government workers on indefinite unpaid furlough, nine million mothers and infants denied nutritional assistance because of the halted WIC program and critical NIH cancer research being stripped of funding . . . the list of idiocies and heartless atrocities is endless. The veterans wanted to visit a memorial honoring their fight for an America that was compassionate and dedicated to the public good, an America that she and Ted Cruz and their fringe group of lunatics have been working so hard to destroy.
The other image that has been turning my stomach for a while now is the Koch-funded commercial with the young woman at her gynecologist’s office, obviously in the stirrups ready to be examined, when up pops a grotesque image of Uncle Sam, seemingly ready to probe, because that’s what Obamacare is all about: letting the government come between you – as in perform gynecological exams – and your doctor. Of course, what is really grotesque is the lie, the intentionally malicious pandering-to- uninformed citizens lie that is at the bottom of this ad and at the bottom of the fight against the Affordable Care Act by conservative Republicans.
And when I say uninformed citizens, I don’t just mean those who only watch FOX News, although they clearly represent a huge segment of the un- or at least misinformed. I’ve said it many times; if I were locked in a room with only FOX News to watch, I’m sure I’d wind up believing a lot of really stupid stuff, too. Brainwashing works. After enough exposure I’d probably believe that Obamacare is a socialist plot or has death panels or puts the government in my doctor’s office or whatever other crap is being drilled into the heads of FOX-watchers. But unfortunately, it isn’t only FOX-watchers.
One of the funniest bits I’ve seen in the past week was a Jimmy Kimmel segment I caught on Facebook. A staffer conducted one of those “man/woman in the street” interviews and asked people which they preferred: Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. The people appeared to be average citizens of varying ages and races; they were all able to express themselves relatively well when explaining why they FAR preferred the Affordable Care Act to Obamacare. They might not have been very familiar with what the ACA was all about, but they knew it had to be better than Obamacare because they had been very well educated about how terrible it was. None had any idea that they were the same thing!
Democrats are just beginning to wake up to two things. The first is that they have to do as good a job educating the public about what Obamacare/ the ACA is, as the Republicans have done in lying about what it isn’t. Because the average citizen wants affordable health care. They don’t want to be excluded for a pre-existing condition. They like being able to keep their kids on their insurance up until the age of 26. They don’t want a cap which cuts off coverage just when they get really sick. They want hospitals to be penalized when they have too many accidental deaths. And, if they can’t afford health insurance they’d like a subsidy to help them obtain it. In other words, they really like Obamacare; they just don’t know it yet. But they’re beginning to . . . and all the Democrats have to do is keep running easy-to-grasp ads and commercials that simply tell the truth. Apparently just a little bit of that has gone a long way; so many millions of people tried to sign on to the health insurance (by private insurance companies, by the way) exchange website when it opened on October 1 that it crashed the servers.
The second thing Democrats are waking up to is that they don’t have to play fair anymore. What has being “the adult in the room” or being willing to compromise brought them and the country other than grief? Other than draconian budget cuts and sequestration? Don’t cave on this one, Democrats. It’s NOT Obama’s shutdown; it belongs to the Republicans. Maybe if the Democrats stand firm, and enough Republicans start really resenting being held hostage by a minority fringe, something positive can actually get done in this country. Remember, we don’t negotiate with terrorists. There’s a gargantuan amount of catching up to do, but it’s still not too late to save America – the America those veterans fought for.
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