Monday, April 05, 2010

Socialists and Racists and Militias, Oh My…

The passing of the recent healthcare legislation and the arrest of nutcase Christian militia members have served as striking examples of how we are a divided country. No doubt we are at a very divisive point in our country’s history, but we are not on the brink of a civil war. To hear commentators in the supposedly mainstream media tell it, we are either under siege from communist infiltrators or a fifth column of right wing lunatics is plotting to murder everyone who voted Democratic in 2008.

Calling Obama a socialist is making his opponents look like buffoons. A socialist wouldn’t raise more than $750 million from corporate donors and forgo public campaign financing. A socialist would not have made attempts to attract Republican support or sign what is at its core a moderate bill. A socialist would have insisted on a government-run healthcare system as exists in most Western democracies. I hate to break this to my conservative friends, but Canada, England, Norway and Spain are not communist countries. There are no “death panels” ordering elderly people to be euthanized in Sweden or France.

The recent health care plan may be a fiscally irresponsible boondoggle full of accounting tricks and underfunded mandates, but it is not a communist blueprint. Calling Obama a socialist is idiotic (double idiot points for denouncing Obama’s so-called socialist policies while quoting George Orwell, who actually was a socialist).

It’s the same brand of idiocy to claim that the opposition to the Obama administration is born out of latent racism or that conservatives are calling for wholesale murder of Democrats.

Obama supporters know that the stigma of racism (a word so overused and abused it ought to be in quotes in most cases) can condemn a political opponent to the humiliating and irrelevant margins of society. The easiest way to deflect blame and anger from the first black president is to somehow portray criticism of his administration as racist. Therefore, people angry at the healthcare bill aren’t really upset over cuts to their or their parents’ Medicare coverage or taxes on their healthcare benefits, they must be closet racists angry that ‘Hail to the Chief’ is played for a black man. Look for more accusations of “racism” when Democrats move to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.

Likewise, Sarah Palin is not endorsing murder when she uses firearms metaphors in her messages to her supporters. She’s the same kind of corporate water-carrier the Republicans have been pushing our way for decades. She may be an idiot, but she’s not trying to inspire a right wing coup. The same goes for other Republican Party blowhards like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck etc.

Republicans and Democrats are painting one another as extremists in an attempt to stigmatize their opponents and stifle debate. They’re both wrong.

No comments: