Summer of Stupefaction: The Baffling Fight By Ordinary Americans To Defeat Healthcare Reform

a.k.a. Summer of Staggering Stupidity


"The best test of a civilised society is the way in which it treats its most vulnerable and weakest members."

      - Mahatma Gandhi

That the majority of the rich and powerful in America, particularly those on the right, are vehemently opposed to universal healthcare and instead support the present free-market private insurance system is hardly surprising. Clearly they have nothing to fear, as it's highly unlikely that they will ever find themselves without coverage and they're certainly never going to be choosing between treatment and bankruptcy.

This stance - though truly despicable, completely devoid of compassion and totally self-absorbed - isn't really all that difficult to understand. It's simply the latest manifestation of that age-old philosophy: "Hey, I'm alright. Screw everyone else!"

What IS extremely hard to figure out, however, is the mindset of all these regular, ordinary working class and middle class right-wing nut-jobs who have been showing up all summer long at these town hall meetings chanting:

"Socialism! Communism! Stalinism!!"

Not to mention: "Obama is Hitler!!"

And: "Better dead than North Korean or Canadian!"

I mean, seriously, what's up with these people anyway? Don't they understand just how much they potentially have to lose?

They may be feeling quite secure about their insurance coverage today, but that could so very easily change tomorrow.

Craving Some Karma

When you see these people on the news do you ever find yourself - as I so often do - hoping that they'll one day wind up extremely ill and in need of treatment, only to discover that their beloved for-profit, free-market insurance company has denied them coverage, forcing them into bankruptcy and leaving them completely destitute?

Now that may sound mean-spirited, but someone has to say it.

Because it's simply infuriating to see how they so scornfully dismiss and deride the genuine efforts of all those who have been working so hard to ensure that everyone in America has adequate healthcare.

And what of all these right-wing, anti-healthcare-reform Senators and Members of Congress? Wouldn't it be especially great if they were someday denied coverage right when they most needed it?

But of course that will never happen.

However, it most definitely could happen to any one of these rage-filled right-wing regular (that is, neither rich nor powerful) Americans, any one of whom could indeed, at any time, find themselves sick, with their insurance company denying them coverage.

Seriously, wouldn't it just be so karmically perfect if, after battling so incredibly hard to defeat the implementation of a universal healthcare system, they found themselves unemployed, unwell and uninsured?

Now, obviously, I don't really want that to happen to anyone, but it is something that's hard not to think about when you see these people so passionately arguing against something that is - regardless of what they may have heard to the contrary on FOX News - for the long-term good of not just the nearly 50 million presently uninsured, but the whole country, including - at least potentially - themselves and their kids and grandkids.

A Communist Scheme?

You can, of course, argue that Obama's present plan is seriously flawed and that what the country really needs is a single-payer system - and I'd be the first to agree - but what these people are arguing against is not the specifics of this particular plan, they're arguing against the very idea of having any sort of government-run plan to begin with.

What they seem to be oblivious to is the fact that America already has a universal, socialized, government-run, single-payer healthcare system. At least for everyone over 65. It's called Medicare. And I certainly haven't heard many of these right-wing town hall shouters, yellers and screamers calling Medicare a Communist scheme.

And, besides, as it's been pointed out by many others before, universal medical coverage is no more Communist than government-run, tax-funded schools, libraries and fire departments. And the police, Coast Guard, and Search and Rescue for that matter.

But of course this isn't a reasonable, logic-based debate, is it? No, this is a war against "a Stalinist takeover of America".

Irrational, Confused and Nonsensical

This opposition to universal healthcare by ordinary Americans is almost as sensible as, say, Jews campaigning for the Nazis, African Americans donating money to the KKK, Cambodians clamoring for the return of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, or Americans electing Dick Cheney as president.

Or perhaps a more apt analogy is with the thousands of women in Mali protesting in recent weeks against a new law guaranteeing them equality in marriage. "We don't need equality", they shout, "it's just a Western plot to destroy Islam".

Give me your stupid, your ignorant, your muddled masses

Which brings me to my main point, which is: Why do so many ordinary Americans consistently vote for and support politicians and policies that are so unambiguously opposed to their own interests?

This illogical support of politicians and leaders who oppose just about everything that's actually in one's own best self interest is not unique to America of course, but it's certainly nowhere near as prevalent in any other Western democracy.

Selflessness is great and all if you're working to help the homeless or orphans or anyone else in need. However, supporting Republicans who launch pointless wars that your kids will have to fight and die in, who lower taxes for the rich meaning your taxes will stay higher and your government services will remain underfunded, who fight against universal healthcare putting you at future risk of being uninsured, who... well, I think you get the point, it's just plain crazy.

Bangin' "Family Values"

One explanation is that these right-wing Republicans give lip service to the radical fundamentalist Christianity that so many of these "regular folks" follow (and which really explains where their minds are at in all of this).

But you'd think that after the umpteenth "Family Values" Republican of the Religious Right was caught banging his mistress down in Argentina or Alabama or some such place (or, say, caught hitting on adolescent Congressional pages, or caught in another financial scandal, or...) that it'd become pretty obvious that these people's real priorities have nothing to do with Christianity or "Family Values" and a lot more to do with power, wealth... and, well, banging their mistresses.

The Good Ol' Days

The fact is if you try to imagine a country that doesn't provide education and police, firefighting, postal or Search and Rescue services to all of its citizens then you're either imagining a Third World country or you're thinking back to the "good ol' days" of the 18th or 19th centuries.

And that's exactly how the rest of the modern, industrialized world views America, a country with unlimited wealth and resources when it comes to launching wars in any given corner of the globe, yet somehow unable to provide the most basic of government services - healthcare - to its own people, leaving nearly-50 million citizens with absolutely no medical coverage whatsoever.

What if...?

Imagine what it would be like if, like the current healthcare-insurance industry, some of the following government-run vital services also operated on a purely for-profit basis:

"Nope, sorry, we can't educate your kid, he seems a little slow. It'd cost us extra resources. However, you can always watch educational shows like Sesame Street at home."

"No can do, we're not going to deliver mail to the countryside anymore. The profit ratio is simply too low. You could always move to the city."

"No, no, no! How many times do I have to tell you, we're not going to police your neighborhood. Too much crime there. You could always buy yourself a gun."

"Look, I understand that you want your son back, but both Search and Rescue and the Coast Guard are businesses and therefore you can't really expect us to attempt a rescue until the whole operation has been paid for up-front and, hey, let's be frank, it's pretty obvious that you can't afford it. Of course you could always go look yourself... just don't get lost".

"Sorry, sir, we'd like to come put out the fire and save your home, but to save money we've decided to only fight fires in wealthy neighborhoods where the pay is much better. You could always use your garden hose. Good luck!"

Death Panels

And one last thing: Yeah, death panels most certainly do exist. They're called for-profit insurance companies and they deny treatment and/or coverage to millions of Americans every year, many of whom - you guessed it - end up dead.

But, alas, those who need to hear this message aren't really listening to logic or reason now are they? They're simply screaming "Communism!" and, most bizarrely, "Fascism!" as they attempt to stop America from joining the modern world.

Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Friday, September 4th, 2009

Read an earlier piece on this topic here: The Great Anti-Canadian-Healthcare Fraudster Joins The Great American Healthcare Debate


Now check out these other recent political rants:


An Open Letter To America Concerning The Hate-Filled Homophobes of The Religious Right


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Another 30-plus comments

You can read another 30-plus comments posted in response to this piece on The Georgia Straight's site here.

Bandaid needed in U.S. to stop the stupid from flowing.

This bull crap about everyone else in the world "dreaming" about being American? Come on now... I lived there for 5 years and I can tell you... the only thing I have is NIGHTMARES about the violence, greed, classism, ignorance, radical right, NRA and the "American Dream" which is a dream ONLY for the military, corporations and religious right of America.


Narrow minded fear mongering is the majority rule in the US. Words like "Freedom" and "Rights" are tossed around like dollar bills at a strip club by another me-me-me NFL football star. If the Bush era did anything it was expose the willful destruction of the educational system to breed lemmings to follow "the American way" and "their leader" unquestioningly at all costs. And what did that get them?


Hell... what did it get the world? Well... we're seeing it now.


Obama's only issue... that he's actually intelligent and compassionate enough to WANT a discussion, he has the audacity to hope for a civil debate. Seriously... maybe he didn't grow up American if he believes this is possible.


Not in America man... where a man convicted of slaughtering dogs can be hailed as a hero as long as "my" team wins. Where a pastor who rapes boys, cheats on his wife and embezzels millions can not only preach about "family values" on national TV, but also be seen as a leader.


The dream I have... is that Obama can help usher in an era where we see America grow up. This spoiled kid with access to the liquor cabinet full of bourbon, Dad's gun rack equipped FORD F-150, cash laced with cocaine and an ego matched in size only by the growing US debt and it's falling reputation around the world... I gotta tell you, I'm frickin' tired of having him as a neighbour.


Come on Obama... ignore the mouth breathers and their parent network, their religious mission and their Alaskan warrior woman. Push through Universal health care and take away the biggest tool of fear the GOP can play with. Think about it... if families in the US don't have to "pray" for a miracle to save their sick/dying relatives then why go to church? No church no radical religious pulpit and no pulpit equals no GOP.


That's what the real fight is about...

The Real Fight

From one Anon to Another Anon: I hope you’re right Smart Guy! I agree with you. The violence so many Leftists, Criminals, Socialists, Democrats, Obamaniacs and otherwise very undesirable ‘people?’ have wrought on the Great United States is indeed creating a culture of ‘classism,’ ignorance, avarice, inter-generational and inter-racial conflict like we Great Citizens of America have never witnessed! If you come here, be ready to work for and pay the way of others who espouse their hate for America. Please…please…All you non-Americans and others who are enjoying the American way of life, thinking about coming here or on your way to the United States; STOP! Go Back! Leave…spare us. It’s not very good here! Thank God for Independent Thinkers! Thank God for people with reason! Thank God for our Mighty Military! Thank God for our Capitalistic Way of Life! And thank God for organizations like the NRA! Yes! So stay away all you others like the Idiot above who comes here expecting to be carried around and supported and coddled. Go away…stay away…please...stay away. Follow Smart Guys lead... BTW…hope is for the hopeless…natural selection has a higher purpose

Dear Darwin...

"So stay away all you others like the Idiot above who comes here expecting to be carried around and supported and coddled."


So let me get this right... my 6 figure salary and subsequent Social Security and Pension funds that I contributed that I, as a Green card Holder, could NEVER recoup... how is that supporting me? Oh... and the 10's of thousands of dollars I paid out of my pocket for my families medical care... how was the US carrying me there? Oh... and the 100's of thousands of dollars I spent within your country.... is that what you mean by coddling?


Lets be blunt... "natural" has nothing to do with a system based on greed, that is solely constructed to benefit a small % of an entire population. In fact... I think it IS evolution that you fear. The maturation of your national discourse so those Americans, like you, who prey on those who find themselves on the wrong side of the power brokers... begin to loose your grip on your nation. The unsustainable practices of "the American Dream", the bullshit preaching of your radical right... all of it, your country is evolving out of its Fear state, its arrogance and its bullying.


You're afraid because once YOUR America is gone you'll have no where to go because nobody, no country in the world wants to import your ignorant, bigoted, myopic and hateful view of the world.


You have reached the pinnacle of your evolutionary capabilities (OK... maybe that happened in 2004 or 2005)... that bell curve is nasty once you've hit the down slope isn't it?

U.S. mindset

The problem started with edward bernaise. the nephew of sigmund freud. He started the whole idea of making connections between impulsive desires (before the 1920's people only bought what they needed, not what they desired) and a product. Today this has caused the U.S. to become a consumerist nation. The ideals of our country are no longer even passingly thought of. They no long even require high school students to learn and explore the constitution (or as bush said "the constitution is only a piece of paper") as it applies to our government and life.


As to the medical industry, the real problem is cost control. There is none. When a govt. agency can buy a 200 dollar netbook and 99 dollar piece of software (dragon naturally speaking) instead of a 8,000 dollar machine for the deaf but won't because their afraid the user might "use it for something besides communications" you start to see the problem, that $7700.00 savings could have gone to another patient or to subsidize someone who needs healthcare, but it's not going to happen. unfortunatly big business has used money to control as much as it can. Now you know the problem.

Sarah Palin's crazies and the right wingnuts ride again

What a great article Mike! Couldn't have said it better. What the heck is going on South of the border? The most uncommon thing seems to be common sense. These people will believe anything, just appeal to their dark side. President Obama , needs to get tough. He has to. If you could find a functioning brain amidst the guns, hate, and ignorance of Sarah's lot, I'd be shocked.It really is frightening that so many people are almost illiterate, dangerously so. Thanks for your insight, send it to the New York Times, CNN, or shout it from the rooftops. Perhaps someone out there will listen. I won't hold my breath.