I assume most of our US readers are aware of how really awful the US health care debate got. But for those in other countries, the daily pelting with sheer lies may have been less noticeable. It was horrifying to see something so important flounder because elected officials decided to say whatever would turn people off. This was beyond stressful. And that’s just for an observer, usually well over a thousand miles away.
It is a very imperfect bill, and there are some huge problems remaining. The anti-choice victories revealed how a woman’s health is still regarded as something the guys should control. But at least the country came closer to solving some of the problems revealed in the free clinics this last year. And that were visible anyway to anyone with the wit to recognize what is going on. So many, many thanks to the Congress for getting the bill passed.
For those who weren’t getting the daily Repulican rhetoric, Paul Krugman has a useful summary:
Instead, the emotional core of opposition to reform was blatant fear-mongering, unconstrained either by the facts or by any sense of decency.
It wasn’t just the death panel smear. It was racial hate-mongering, like a piece in Investor’s Business Daily declaring that health reform is “affirmative action on steroids, deciding everything from who becomes a doctor to who gets treatment on the basis of skin color.” It was wild claims about abortion funding. It was the insistence that there is something tyrannical about giving young working Americans the assurance that health care will be available when they need it, an assurance that older Americans have enjoyed ever since Lyndon Johnson — whom Mr. Gingrich considers a failed president — pushed Medicare through over the howls of conservatives.
And let’s be clear: the campaign of fear hasn’t been carried out by a radical fringe, unconnected to the Republican establishment… On the eve of the big vote, Republican members of Congress warned that “freedom dies a little bit today” and accused Democrats of “totalitarian tactics,” which I believe means the process known as “voting.”
And some people sought out a low one had hoped we had moved away from. A comment on Krugman’s column describes part of the outburst of racism:
[I feel] horrendous sorrow because of how the protesters treated John Lewis yesterday. For these people to call him these despicable racist names and literally spit on him was deplorable. … Mr. Lewis is not only an honorable man he is an integral part of our American history. He marched with Dr. King regularly and was historically photographed with his head busted open and blood running down his face. What do these people want for a person of color to qualify to be an American?