There is nothing un-American about people who are opposed to the healthcare reform legislation. They have a right to be skeptical about how their current coverage will be affected, what the cost of reform will be, and whether they will still get needed treatment. I realize that.
What IS un-American about healthcare opponents is, I believe, summed up in these two sets of video clips. Here is footage from Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-Mo.) town hall today. These types of events are less about persuading members of Congress or the general public toward a particular direction on the legislation and more about allowing people who feel that they have no other way of being heard to air their opinions to a captive audience.
But this is not democracy—it’s more state-of-nature than civilization. Whoever has the loudest voice or the biggest sign is in control. Yes, everyone has the right to say what they want, but everyone acknowledges that there are limits to how you say things. People can swear, just not over certain mediums at certain times. Articles can be written about people, they just cannot be libelous. And, of course, there is Oliver Wendell Holmes’s famous statement about yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.
Kudos to Sen. McCaskill for standing her ground, for not walking away, and for not giving up on her constituents. The worst experience for any customer service representative is being shouted at by a client who is definitely in the wrong. It doesn’t help that these people are using phrases like “socialism” and “death panels” that trigger a rabid response from the crowd, yet no one fully comprehends what they mean.
The second un-American aspect of the anti-healthcare crowd is the subject of this video. Simply put: why can we not provide regular doctor-patient care for all of our citizens at an affordable price?
The answer is money. Insurance companies and drug companies spend a lot of it to tell us, in essence, how they must continue to make ungodly profits in order for our healthcare to be as good as it is. It’s a form of blackmail: saying, “You think we take you on a ride now? Just wait and see how bad it will be once we’re out of the picture.” And members of Congress apparently see no harm in the correlation between money and influence. Witness Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) when confronted on the amount of campaign contributions she received from the healthcare industry, morphing her response from “that’s impossible”; to “that’s not a lot” of money; to hey, they should be giving that money to “people who have more direct control” of legislation.
People can oppose this legislation, President Obama, and vague notions of socialism all they want. But if money and misinformation are causing people to turn a blind eye to millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans, then this continued resistance to our healthcare crisis is wholly un-American.