What's All This Then?

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

You have to wonder how many of them are out there - the crazies, the ignoramuses , the bigots. If you paid attention to their co-conspirators - the electronic media - you would think they were close to representing a majority - the way they are drawn to them like moths to a flame - ignoring the sane among us - hopefully a majority

The last time I wrote anything here, I asked if those protesting healthcare reform were lacking in basic intelligence or were bigots - using healthcare town hall meetings to express their bigotry- or had some misdirected mistrust of the Federal Government. Today I’m sure of two out of three. The bigots have come out from under their robes ands hoods to brazenly expose themselves - and ignorance abounds. There are times when I despair of some of my fellow citizens and this is one of them.

Many years ago, when I returned to the United States after spending my youth in England, I was appalled at some of the questions people asked me about the mother country. One that has stuck in my mind for all these years was - "do you have refrigerators in England?" I kid you not. It was a question sincerely posed. The questioner simply didn’t know anything about countries outside of the United States. Now here we are a lifetime later and hearing the same kind of ignorance from the healthcare protesters. A couple of years later, I took a driving trip to Florida and came face to face with racial discrimination and racial hatreds. I can’t forget the looks of hatred thrown at me when I stopped along the way to buy refreshments and insisted that the black man in front of me at the counter not step aside to let me be served first.

I’m not about to say that decades later, things are still the same in this country. Obviously they can’t be with a true African-American in the White House. But there is no question that for a percentage of the population - representatives of which we are now seeing spouting ignorance and hatred on the nightly news, there has been no passage of time. Like some Islamic cultures - our ignoramuses continue to live in the past. That’s why you see signs and hear nitwits proclaim that they "want their country back." Presumably the country where black people knew their place and Presidents were middle aged Caucasians that they could identify with as "one of them."

One piece of nonsense that we are hearing from the ignoramuses is that we don’t want the federal government "messing" with our healthcare system because it’s " the best healthcare system in the world." Really? In what way? Do we have the best doctors? The best nurses? The best hospitals? The best access and the best outcomes? The statement is patently ridiculous - but is the kind of thing we are hearing from idiots who know nothing of the rest of the world but automatically assume that no nation can have something better than us. Yes we have good doctors and good nurses and good hospitals - but if a system that can easily bankrupt a citizen who gets hit with a devastating disease or dies because he or she lacks the funds to pay for needed medical care or life saving drugs is the best in the world - then the rest of the world must be in a sorry state.

There is absolutely nothing that we are hearing from the protesters that makes sense. There is nothing being proposed by Republicans that can be thought of as healthcare reform. Yet the protests are coinciding with a drop in the president’s approval numbers and the president seems to be willing to strip his healthcare reform ideas of any real meaning just to get one Republican on board. Olympia Snow may win herself a moment in history - but there will be no winners if the nonsensical "trigger" idea becomes the keystone of any final bill. We’ll know next Wednesday, but I have little hope that Obama will present the nation with an FDR moment.

A final word about the crazies at the town hall meetings. Americans are known to be generally a generous lot when it comes to giving. But they often fall far short of the mark when it comes to common courtesy. In such simple things as driving habits for example. How many hundreds of times I have pulled up behind a car at a traffic light waiting to turn left when I too have wanted to turn left - only to neglect to move out into the intersection so that at least one more car can make the turn when the lights change That’s a driver who has no concept of common courtesy to fellow drivers. . Another example. Because of my accumulated surgeries, I have had the need of late to use a riding cart when shopping at a large store. The other day, I had to wait several minutes at a Sam’s Club while an employee found one out in the parking lot. As I wheeled into the interior of the store, I passed an area where people could sit and eat pizza which was being sold there - and there were two couples sitting and eating, each with a riding cart full of their completed shopping and not caring one whit about anyone with problems similar to theirs who might be waiting for one of those carts.

The news clips of the crazies we’ve been seeing now for weeks reveal the personification of that lack of common courtesy. Perhaps the worst I have seen was a woman confined to a wheelchair describing her medical condition which required drugs that she could barely afford, being booed and shouted down at an alleged "town hall meeting." And the media moguls at networks and local stations thought it was appropriate to end the clip with a yahoo complaining that the wheelchair bound woman shouldn’t have more rights than him to speak - or in his case, to interrupt someone else speaking. " I didn’t come here to listen to people’s opinions" said this yahoo, "my rights are no less important than a women in a wheelchair. Which is of course true. And unfortunate. As is this excuse for an American’s right to vote.