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Friday, March 26, 2010

Health care reform—a battle over right-wing political culture in the US

By 史蒂夫 奥托

The Health care debate has polarized this country as much as or maybe more than the Vietnam War. And this is not something the country can simply pull out of. The bill is a watered down version of the original which for the first time, would have provided universal health care to all US citizens. This is the only industrialized country that doesn’t treat health care as a human right. It is the only country with a conservative community that believes that “socialized medicine” would destroy the capitalist system.
The Tea Bag Party, which has acted as brown-shirts for insurance company interests, are largely uneducated, politically in-sophisticated, and violently unstable. Many of these people have talked of assassinating those they consider “tyrants.” Many are from the anti-abortion movement which has elements that promote the murder of abortion providing doctors. The Army of God webpage highlights more than six people who have either killed or tried to kill abortion doctors.
Abortion was also a major snag in the health care debate as anti-abortion activists have insisted that health care reform will force taxpayers to fund abortions. According to The Wichita Eagle:

“Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., leader of the anti-abortion bloc, said he was satisfied with an executive order issued by (President Barrack) Obama affirming prohibitions in current law and in the health legislation against taxpayer money going to abortions.
"Make no doubt about it. There will be no public funds for abortion," Stupak said in announcing the agreement Sunday ahead of a vote on the landmark health care bill.
The National Right to Life Committee quickly issued a scathing statement disputing Stupak's claim.
"The executive order promised by President Obama was issued for political effect. It changes nothing," the group said. "It does not correct any of the serious pro-abortion provisions in the bill."

As noted in this video, Stupak has been the target of viscous verbal attacks from anti-abortion people:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

These people seem to froth with anger and hate. The connection to health care and abortion is alarming because the anti-abortion activists have been relentless, violent, destructive and hateful. The rhetoric on the health care issue has been about as hateful as the abortion rhetoric. According to The Wichita Eagle:

“NEW YORK - Remember how shocking it was six months ago when Rep. Joe Wilson shouted "You lie!" to the president?
Suddenly, that outburst seems positively genteel.
From the "N-word" and anti-gay slurs being leveled at congressmen by protesters right outside the Capitol, to a shout of "baby killer!" within the chamber itself, to veiled and not-so-veiled threats online, the weekend saw an explosion of stunningly ugly discourse.
What is going on? Is our political culture sinking ever lower?”

The article concludes that such heated debates are not so unusual. But the Tea Party that has formed out of this debate is not a one issue group. It is strongly anti-Obama, pro-global warming denying, anti-immigrant and anti-taxes. They are hot tempered pro-gun people who are constantly talking about a “civil war” and “rebellion” to take back their country.
Here is an example of what some of these people are like:

This new health care bill is not a very good bill and falls way short of providing universal health care. According to the Kasama Project:

“It is worth keeping this history—and (Frederick) Engels’ observations from a century ago—in mind as we observe the end game of the current health care reform debate. The media have tended to view the fight over health care reform as pitting a liberal government bent on providing a new health care entitlement to the uninsured against industry and conservative forces fearful of a “government takeover” of the U.S. health care system. Of course, reality is a lot more complex than that.
Where does business really stand? It simply isn’t the case that noble Democrats for health reform stand on one side, arrayed against the evil health insurance lobby on the other. In fact, the health insurers are playing both sides of the fence, as big business always does in “bipartisan” Washington.
The insurance, pharmaceutical, and hospital industries realize two things: first, the current model under which they reap their profits is unsustainable; and second, for the foreseeable future, Democrats are going to be in charge of Washington. So their leading lobbies have made the calculation that working with (rather than against) the Obama administration and congressional leaders will help them to reach their objectives.
Like the nineteenth century railroad barons who built their fortunes from the public trough, the health care lobbies can spot a bonanza in the making. If Congress establishes a government requirement for everyone to buy health insurance—a core idea of all the current health care bills—the insurance industry will reap a huge windfall.”

Obviously this is more about a cultural outlook by the far right, rather than the merits of this bill that is fuelling this ugly debate. It is the perception that a far right cultural community is losing control of this country and it is unclear how far they will go to get it back. Will they use violence? We already have death threats and bricks thrown through windows. The question is how far this country will polarize and how will this play out. Will the Tea Baggers get tired of fighting and go home, or will they keep pushing the rhetoric to its illogical conclusion.
This is a period of intense political struggle and we will see how far it goes.

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