Conservative Darling and former
pin-up girl Governor Sarah Palin on health care reform:
The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.Yes, it would be evil to have a death panel. It would also be evil to require doctors to encourage elderly patients to end their lives. Of course, both are falsehoods concocted by those who continue to oppose health care reform. Both are absolute lies told by people who have no interest in improving health care, and who will be happy to see Obama and the democrats "lose" in the hopes that it will speed their return to power. I initially thought that Steven Pearlstein was being excessively shrill when he wrote:
The recent attacks by Republican leaders and their ideological fellow-travelers on the effort to reform the health-care system have been so misleading, so disingenuous, that they could only spring from a cynical effort to gain partisan political advantage. By poisoning the political well, they've given up any pretense of being the loyal opposition. They've become political terrorists, willing to say or do anything to prevent the country from reaching a consensus on one of its most serious domestic problems.But the more I see of the opposition, the more right I think he is. Screaming "Socialism!" is no substitute for reasoned debate. Carrying swastikas to defame your opponents is the opposite of searching for common ground. Threatening violence (including death threats to Congressmen), bringing guns (and encouraging others to do so) to political events, brawling, and actively obstructing public debate at the events: these are not the tactics of people who are interested in coming to agreement. They are expressions of blind rage and terror. Worse, this is a time-honored tactic to use fear
as a weapon to shut down discussion and obstruct action.
I won't deny that there are real concerns held by real people -- this is a genuine movement, not a fake "astroturf" movement. But this movement emulates the tactics of notorious anti-democratic movements in a manner clearly designed to allow a small but passionate minority to intimidate and frighten a much-larger but less passionate electorate. And this is scary: violence lingers just beneath the surface of such unfettered rage.
I have a bad feeling that things are going to get worse before they get better.