As the fiery spectacle of the health care town halls begins to fizzle into, well, a reasonable town hall discussion, the real meat of the discussion has been lost in a clamor of rhetoric and political scare tactics. What was meant to be a dialogue on the quality of medicine the people of this country are getting (and an opportunity to localize the necessity) became a wake-up call to so many other problems in our political atmosphere.
Many Americans have learned over the past few weeks is that congressional bills are far too long, we will put anyone who acts out on T.V., buzz words are fun to use on headlines, and we may never get rid of Sarah Palin.
The plan that should have been no more than a few dozen pages, that expand MediCare to all people, became 1,036 of jargon and gibberish. This several pound paperweight is so overwhelming and intimidating that Congress-people and other politicians are turning this crucial resolution over to their staffers to do the heavy reading. This seems especially comical considering many of these people in Congress and the Senate are toting their new books. By plumping up the bill, Congress has opened themselves up to easy shots at how the bill is confusing, no one has read it in its entirety and simplified interpretations of what different components “mean.”
In the heat of the town hall forums, the enraged chipped away the thin layer of wood they were behind to exercise their rights to call the president a Nazi-socialist and tote assault riffles (because they can.) While most town halls only reached the extreme of yelling, recounting Fox News talking points and toting Hitler-esque Obama posters, the thunderous apex of the discussion in Phoenix, Az was a real physical concern for the President. The visible presence of guns is no foreign occurrence in much of the United States but why anyone thinks that their assault riffles are appropriate at a crowded rally where the President is going to be is highly questionable. Clearly these people are looking to create a spectacle and, often times, get the opportunity to talk with the media and perhaps get air-time doing the usual “Joe the Plumber” pundit rounds.
But if one were to choose the single most memorable element in the health care summer of attempted change it would be the buzz words that will leave their mark on the hefty cover of HR 3200. Socialist. Single-payer. Obamacare. Bi-partisan. Health option. Socialized medicine.
While all of these phrases have streamed across 24-hour tickers and blinked below talking head on every media outlet, the most exciting buzz words that popped up in the health reform debacle has been the infamous end-of-days exclamation “death panels.” And who better to be the cheerleader for the scare-tactic train of misinformation then Republican sweetheart and half-term fizzler Sarah Palin.
The same Palin who wishes for nothing more than to be “left alone” by the “elite liberal media” was minding her own business, catching up on her facebook status when she made a note called: Statement on the Current Health Care Debate. And in that note she mentioned the sacrifice that Democrats were making in the course of creating a universal health care plan. That sacrifice: GRANDMA! Alaska’s favorite hockey mom was fulfilling Obama’s cry for more community service when she warned the public:
The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.
Now clearly former Gov. Palin was not looking to make waves or even for anyone to notice. Especially since she has only 853,957 supporters (as of mid-day 9/4/09). It’s not like any news outlets look out for anything absurd she says. She’s not known for that, right?
Well “death panels” had teeth and those teeth are still deep in the issue. Too bad the dem’s couldn’t get a Palin wink on this one.
The health reform discussion may be winding down and the results are still up in the air but the ride to this point has been a wide and wet one that will be dissected for months to come — and not the actual details of the plan, the scrutiny will be on spin, marketing and crowd control.