Unlike our Calvinist brethren and most of the members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce I believe that healthcare is a basic human right. I actually believe that the way healthcare is practiced in the United States qualifies almost as a criminal enterprise. Certainly I’m not happy with many of the provisions in the Affordable Care Act as passed, particularly the concessions made to the insurance industry. Yet, I wonder if any bill could have gotten through, given the track record of any effort to advance socially mandated healthcare over the past 40 years, unless attempts were made to indulge conservatives by adopting something like their own successful program enacted in Massachusetts. The ACA isn’t what I would have liked, but the accomplishment of actually having passed a law addressing healthcare as a “right” is a major accomplishment. It goes to the heart of everything dividing Americans into what appears to be irreconcilable factions. In fact it brings about nothing less than the first faint cracks in the walls of prejudice that have been used as tools for control almost as long as we’ve been in existence, and most effectively since the cold war.
I would like to have seen a better law, but this is better than no law at all, and it’s a start. As with Social Security and Medicare, it’s inspired resistance from the same political factions using identical rhetoric. Both programs, after all, entail a redistribution of wealth and thus evoke a visceral response in a country that has been programmed by it’s religious leaders, backed conveniently by the rulers of industry, to believe we are all self-sufficient individuals responsible only before God. Both programs continue to be revised and improved over time to address problems and inefficiencies. Obamacare is not only a crack in the dam of the absolute power of the wealthy, it is in fact another challenge to the concept of white Protestant supremacy. Particularly irksome is the fact that it was passed by a black man and even carries his suspiciously Islamic sounding name (ironically it’s the Republicans who made this possible). You may think this an irrelevant diversion, but I believe it’s one of the issues that most effectively fuels the fires of the trained pack of attack dogs that the Right calls it’s ‘base.’ (I also believe that America is still essentially a racist culture that, having built much of its wealth through slavery and genocide, is still mostly in denial of this fact.)
Indeed, the Affordable Care Act is certainly subversive to the American Way as we’ve practiced it for far too long, and it’s a form of subversion that I heartily endorse.
The resistance to any sort of publicly mandated healthcare goes back at least as far as president Truman, and before that to the time of Roosevelt and the labor struggles before and during the Great Depression. It’s that ol’ bugaboo socialism, a word that’s been relentlessly programmed into American business culture in order to evoke a Pavlovian response whenever any expansion of government influence threatens to interfere with the ‘orderly’ process of accumulating capital.
Yes, I’ve heard all of the rhetoric about exceptions and fairness and delays. I just listened to a Representative from Tennessee run all of this out on the news. Pretty obscure and pretty desperate I thought. Undoubtedly these talking points get pounded out everyday on the Rupert Murdock Network. What I hear is the game of politics, to erect as many straw men as one can in order to obfuscate the real issues behind sound bites that hopefully confuse the unlearned masses. I don’t think it’ll work this time. The Democrats actually appear to be united around some kind of solid backbone on this, while the Republicans are all over the place.
You may object, “Straw Dogs you say!!” Just like the stuff about the NSA and the military, which are trotted out whenever either side disagrees with those who we’ve elected to defend us from our own screw ups. (Why don’t we defund these instead of making business pay for our healthcare?) Ironically, The very same people who are fighting tooth and claw to prevent the expansion of government are the ones who benefit most from military contracts in their districts. As for our foreign policy, it’s the very same fear of the socialist menace that has gotten us involved in all this hot water in the first place. We are the ones, after all, that overthrew the first democracy in Iran and financed the Taliban, both actions taken in order to stop the spread of socialism. It’s we who’ve reaped the whirlwind that has resulted in an explosion of extremist Islamic factions on a kill spree all over the world. Americans who think we can just wash our hands of all this and take our military forces and just walk away and let ‘them’ work it out, without considerable blowback, are deluding themselves as far as our complicity and responsibility.
So, as the forces of reaction have chosen siege warfare as their tactic, I say let the siege begin…