Editor’s Page 2009

Editor’s Page
By Fred Mittag
“Battlefield America”

Americans—20 thousand of them—die each year because they don’t have access to healthcare. This is morally unacceptable. Zarathustra taught 3,000 years ago that the world is a battlefield between Good and Evil, and that we must choose sides, a belief adopted by Judaism and Christianity. Amen.

All the western democracies, save one, have universal healthcare as their standard of social justice. In America, insurance companies come between patients and their doctors. They ration health care in order to maximize profits. Father Michael Doyle, a renowned Irish priest, said, “Capitalists should never be allowed near a healthcare system.”

More than three-quarters of those bankrupted had medical coverage at the start of their illness, but they lost their insurance after being unable to work. In extended illness, we’re all in the same boat. Don’t even mention preexisting conditions.

Insurance profits should not decide when to pull the plug on grandma—or 17-year-old Nataline Sarkisyan. But big insurance bucks any attempt at reform. Senator Max Baucus alone received $3 million dollars between 2003 and 2008. From Montana, he represents a tiny percentage of Americans, but he nonetheless holds a powerful chairmanship that shepherds the rest of us. Congressional payola buys Insurance companies their ghoulish game boards of profit.

Another strategy is to use sound bite propaganda to agitate those who take pride in their ignorance. Dick Armey, the former House Majority Leader, now heads a lobbying group called “Freedom Works.” He produced the official guide for disrupting town hall meetings, including shouting down a woman in a wheelchair.

Corporate bowels evacuate lies and propaganda from which idiots sprout like toadstools. One fertilized cretin said at a meeting, “I’m a proud right-wing terrorist.” Representative Wally Herger praised him to loud applause: “Amen, God bless you. There’s a great American.” Seditious words from a congressman, and alarming applause from an audience. The last great American right-wing terrorist was executed as the Oklahoma City Bomber.

Glenn Beck said, “This President has exposed himself as a guy, over and over again, who has a deep hatred for white people ….” A number of gun-toting sociopaths (because it’s “their right”) have appeared at Obama speeches. Representative Lynn Jenkins said the GOP needs a “great white hope” to challenge President Obama in the next election. Republican racism begets one Freudian slip after another, an affliction from their infamous “Southern Strategy.”

Sarah Palin said that people like her son with Down Syndrome, and her parents, “…could end up before Obama’s ‘death panel’ where bureaucrats would decide if they are worthy of health care.”

I have a relative who internalizes the lies and racial smears of Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck as religious faith. She proclaimed that “[liberals] have a huge hatred for normal, conservative, white people.” Good grief!—As opposed to “abnormal, liberal, black people?” Rarely has so much psychosis become the cargo of a short sentence. Paranoia, delusion, and the pathology of racism pierce through the density like signals from the darkness of outer space.

Insurance companies exploit low-class instincts—the greed of congressmen, the fears of brainwashed Neanderthals, and the hate-talk of racism. If a black president talks healthcare reform, he’s a NAZI or a Communist, or something bad. Black is a metaphor for bad.

Political toadies on the take, and democracy’s malcontents, are forces of evil. As Harper’s Magazine reports, Republicans have mounted a campaign of lies about Obama’s birth certificate, death panels, rationing of medical care, and cuts in Medicare benefits. Finally, it’s God Bless America vs. corporate profit. Moral principles ordain an American plan that provides healthcare for everybody. May American decency prevail on Zarathustra’s ancient battlefield of Good and Evil. Amen.


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