Pin It
Submit to Reddit
Favorite

Health care hooligans 

The far right's ongoing nervous breakdown reached a fever pitch across the country last week, as organized groups of disruptive protesters shouted down attempts at real debate during Congress members' health care town hall meetings. The low point (at least at the time we're writing this) came last Thursday in Tampa, where hundreds of anti-health care reform critics' near-riot, complete with fisticuffs, led to cancellation of a town hall event.

The anti-reform protesters like to call themselves a "grassroots" movement, but that's a darkly laughable claim. The very definition of a grassroots movement is that it is generated from the bottom up, and it challenges the status quo. In contrast, the health care mobs we're seeing at town halls are the result of a top-down operation in which health care industry lobbyists orchestrate "spontaneous" protests via e-mails and the exhortations of their FoxNews allies -- in order to protect the status quo, i.e., our current health care system fiasco.

The protesters' aggressively obnoxious tactics are the latest sign that American right-wingers' frustrations are driving them over the edge. If the right wants to reduce itself to a collection of pissed-off, yelling loonies, that's fine with this writer, as long as they don't follow the lead of the more violent factions among their brothers-in-arms in the anti-abortion movement. While the right self-destructs, however, they can't be allowed to grab attention away from the very real need for deep reforms in our health care system.

Ultra-conservatives in America -- those who are old enough may remember when these guys were correctly labeled "right-wing extremists" -- have been having fits every since Obama's election. They somehow thought, despite the many failures of their beloved Bush administration, that they and their backward views constituted a new majority of "real Americans," as Sarah Palin so succinctly put it.

Rather than treat Obama's election, and the widespread rejection by voters of conservative Congressional candidates, as a "wake-up call," right-wingers have so far refused to wake up at all. Instead, they've treated their defeat last November as an unjust usurpation of their God-given right to rule America. Well, here's the bad news, righties: This is a democracy and you lost, so now you have to put up with the opposition's views being put into practice; that's how it works. Think of these times as a learning experience in which you get to A.) see what it felt like to be a progressive for the past eight years, and B.) finally realize that your insular, backward-facing worldview isn't shared by most Americans.

These days, two things are happening to many rank-and-file conservatives: Their political sores are being picked raw by right-wing media blowhards, and their stifled anger is being exploited by the health care industry.

First the blowhards. FoxNews' gallery of hosts, plus Rush Limbaugh and other radio ranters -- hereby dubbed the FoxRushers -- have been on an increasingly rabid tear since November, riling their listeners and viewers by endlessly and forever repeating doom-and-gloom scenarios (Fox's Glenn Beck even has a "Doom Room"), along with blatant lies, exaggerations, sensationalist scare tactics and the worst kind of "the boogeyman is coming to get you" fear-mongering imaginable. The boogeyman in this case, of course, is President Obama, the guy who Glenn Beck said "has a deep-seated hatred of white people" (a crack which cost Beck three advertisers -- and never mind that Obama's mother was white, as is 75 percent of his White House staff). Beck's not alone in his love of rhetorical embellishment. Sean Hannity wins the prize for hyperbole for claiming that Obama is "literally ripping apart the foundations of the America that we knew and grew up in" (to which Jon Stewart replied, "Sean, that's probably because the America you grew up in was segregated"). Still, Beck gets extra Nutzoid points for his demonstration of his theory that Obama is so bad for the United States, "he may as well pour gasoline on us and set us on fire."

People who listen to these kinds of rancid rants every day are now being exploited by phony grassroots (or "Astroturf") groups to do the bidding of the health care industry. While the FoxRushers give free PR to the town hall "opportunities," the actual organization of the crowds of protesting screamers is being done by a group called FreedomWorks, which sends out charming e-mailed instructions to town hall attendees such as "Be Disruptive Early And Often," and "Try To Rattle Him, Not Have An Intelligent Debate."

You may remember FreedomWorks from the "Tea Party" phenomenon; same group, same phony "grassroots" claims. And same instigator, former Congressman Dick Armey, this time working in tandem with the multi-trillion dollar health insurance industry to rile up the shock troops. Armey's lobbying firm also works for major pharmaceutical companies, so he's no doubt feeling right at home in his efforts to preserve the immoral insurance racket that passes for a health care delivery system in the United States.

So the FoxRush listeners get all jacked up about the evil black guy in the White House, wallow in self-pity because their buddy Dubya is gone, and then get their orders from Dick Armey's group, and march over to the town hall meeting where, like modern-day brownshirts, they disrupt or stop what was supposed to be a reasonable discussion. If the issue at stake wasn't so critical, they'd be pretty funny.

Pin It
Submit to Reddit
Favorite

Comments (11)

Showing 1-11 of 11

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-11 of 11

Add a comment

Creative Loafing encourages a healthy discussion on its website from all sides of the conversation, but we reserve the right to delete any comments that detract from that. Violence, racism and personal attacks that go beyond the pale will not be tolerated.

Search Events

Photo Galleries

  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
» more slideshows
www.flickr.com
items in Creative Loafing Charlotte More in Creative Loafing Charlotte pool

© 2017 Womack Newspapers, Inc.
Powered by Foundation