One man insists that when the new proposals come into force, his son
with cerebral palsy will be denied all care. He is close to murderously
adamant about this. But under what interpretation of any of the bills
would that be true? Another woman asks heatedly, “Exactly where’s the
money coming from? Is it coming out of my
paycheck? I wanna know if it’s coming out of my paycheck–yes or no!”
Well, if she has health insurance from her employer, yes it already is
coming out of her pay-check in larger and larger amounts. Is she aware
of this? Are the Dems planning to tax her to pay for insuring the
uninsured? Unless she’s very wealthy, no. And these pretty basic
misunderstandings are then converted into a simple slogan: “Liberty or
Tyranny!” Mark Levin has indeed had an impact.
if these people were yelling: “End the employer tax break!” or “More
Cost-Controls!” or “Malpractice Reform!” I’d be more sympathetic. But
this is blindpanic and rage.
It’s not just that their objections are fact-free; that’s nothing new. We knew this argument would be stupid and selfish and small, all about me getting mine and you not getting anything. But the vehemence, I have to admit, I didn’t see coming. People aren’t just vaguely annoyed and entitled, they’re pissed off and freaked out and unlike at the tea parties, where there was at least a somewhat festive atmosphere with the costumes and hats and shit, they’re convinced this is a war they’re fighting and that they will win if they can just defeat health care reform. And then … what? I don’t think they’ve thought that far ahead.
Maybe I need to start listening more closely to Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh to get a sense of exactly HOW this can be the case, to get an idea of what twisted logic could be at work here. I get that people are scared because the economy’s still hosed, because we’re simply not accustomed as a country to a competent government, because even in the best of times lots and lots and lots of people get left behind by whatever bubble is about to burst. A few months ago I was stocking up on canned goods because I was absolutely positive the economy was about to devolve into some kind of feudal barter-system and really I have no practical skills. I get the fear.
But fears can be soothed. Nerves can be calmed, misconceptions corrected, ruffled fur petted back into place. Blind panic? That self-reinforcing state where every refutation of an incorrect assumption — nobody is going to get a free abortion, no one is going to euthanize anyone — just fuels the perception that we’re all being suckered and lied to? I don’t know how you deal with that. When you get a crowd whipped up to the point that literally nobody is saying, “Hey, wait a minute, maybe we’re wrong here, let’s just listen,” I don’t know what the answer is there. Fear is understandable. Panic is dangerous, and far more frightening in and of itself.