According to The Huffington Post, at a town meeting in Dartmouth, MA, last Tuesday, Congressman Barney Frank was confronted by a constituent (or a woman posing as one) who asked him why he was “supporting this Nazi policy.” She was referring to the Obama administration’s initiative intended to address the billions of dollars we flush down the toilet daily to achieve the worst, or second to worst according to some estimates, national health care outcomes in the industrialized world. Read the story about this bizarre charge and see the clip of Frank’s response here. Frank, who is a Jewish homosexual (both categories of people were murdered by the Nazis), responded by asking the demonstrator: “On what planet do you spend most of your time?” He then called her stated views “vile, contemptible nonsense.” He closed by saying: “Trying to have a conversation with you would be like arguing with a dining room table.” Several news sources, including the Washington Independent, confirm that the woman and several other demonstrators were holding signs that said “Obama=Nazi.”
“To be fair,” the Independent reporter editorializes, “the evidence suggests that the woman is a supporter of fringe political activist Lyndon LaRouche.” The Independent, a non-profit, non-partisan news source sponsored by the Center for Independent Media offers no source for this hypothetical.
But to whom are we trying to be fair? The politicians and insurance companies who are ready to sell us all down the river to preserve a failing for-profit system? And heaven only knows, we wouldn’t want the Republican Party, whose mainstream conservative politicians talk openly of crippling an Obama presidency in search of the political Armageddon they imagine will return them to power, to be tarred with the brush of extremism. No. Particularly since on Wednesday, the voice of the Republican Party, radio host Rush Limbaugh, reported on the Dartmouth, MA incident and closed by asking: “Isn’t it an established fact that Barney Frank himself spends most of his time living around Uranus?”
Last time I heard this one I was in middle school.
On top of this, consider reports that a man outside an Obama health care rally in Arizona marched around wearing a pistol and carrying a semi-automatic weapon demonstrating, as he put it, “his freedoms.” And of course, Sarah Palin continues to exercise her first amendment right to lie about government “death panels” that would encourage the elderly to stop wasting our tax dollars by living (although, come to think of it, this is precisely what the Republican Party is willing to say to every American too poor, or too sick, to have health insurance.) In fact, what has been proposed is that terminally ill people of all ages would have counseling available about end of life care instead of being given “treatments” they may not want or understand while God is busy doing something other than elevating them to the Elect.
Yes, Virginia, some people do talk about Death before She is standing at the door, and it is neither a dumb or an immoral thing to do. And we all — not just the elderly — should have resources for doing it as soon as we are old enough to make an independent decision about whether to choose life or death. As an aside, one study by Dana Farber proposes that patients welcome End Of Life (EOL) conversations, and that knowledgeable conversations between physicians and terminal patients lower the cost of dying in the final week alone by 36%.
But no, not according to the Republican Party and its loyal activists, for whom the elderly are as idealized a creation as the fetus — and in possession of even less will, apparently. The President is a “Nazi” proposing “death panels.” You know what? Instead of arguing with people who have clearly not only moved to Uranus, but have handed their free will and good sense over to a party whose only interest is in helping the wealthy become wealthier, try this. Find a Republican Senator or Congressman (if you live in Connecticut Joe Lieberman will do, or try Governor Jody Rell) and ask that person to make a public statement disavowing any language or lie that incites violence, or hatred that could lead to violence, against any other public figure.
And if you are a conservative yourself, begin to qualify what you mean by “conservative” with a descriptive adjective that helps distinguish you as a thoughtful person who is committed to civil disagreement. Are you a fiscal conservative? A pro-business conservative? And then say what that means, why that is an important value, and how that value is going to reform healthcare. Not eliminate health care — intervene to provide more and better healthcare to 100% of Americans, thus permitting small businesses to flourish, children to go to school, and workers to be productive and spend their dollars to give them access to their constitutional right to happiness.