I'll refer you first of all, for one last time, to that epitome of ignorant discourse: the elder South Carolinian who wanted no government interference in his Medicare. But in Senator Specter's Lebanon PA Town Hall meeting it all seemed to come together. Specter did his best to overcome shouts of "This is the Soviet Union" ... "Maoist China" ... "You're dismantling our country" ... "Killing people." When he could answer questions, he wasn't listened to: "I was so emotional, I really didn't listen to his answer," admitted one lady, associated with the venal "Americans for Prosperity." They of the bloody-hand placards. The answers were just too easy, and not what the rowdy Republicans wanted to hear. That is: the Public Option wouldn't fundamentally change our current health-care system but for one crucial thing--every American would be covered.
But for the loud-mouthed, PAC-and-lobbyist-sponsored protesters, Health Care really wasn't the issue. It was purely political: an out-of-power minority of racial and religious bigots (read: Republicans) against Obama and the Democrats. "Americans For Prosperity," indeed. Amy McAfee, a spokesperson for that group, admitted as much after the meeting: "The real issue is the the expansion of government favored by President Obama." Another was even more forthright: "This isn't just about health care; it's about political power and a means to regain that power." (Emphasis mine.)
The highlight of the evening, though, was the Old Testament prophet Craig Anthony Miller, standing an in-your-face, two-feet-away from the Senator:
You're trampling on my Constitution. One of these days God is going to stand before you, and he's going to judge you and the rest of of your damned cronies on the Hill, and then you can get your just deserts.
I rather like his muddled theogony--God standing before the Senator--but his point is clear. The majority of the Hill is bound for Hell by the vengeful wrath of Yahweh (assuming that's his god), since Mr. Miller and the Republicans lack the divine wherewithal to do it themselves.
Would the viewing public, by and large, want to identify with these hate-filled idiots? Despite Bill Maher's piece about a smart Obama versus an un-smart America ... I think not. Obama's devilishly clever plan just might work. For although we seem to be divided on what kind of bill should pass Congress, over two-thirds of the electorate--the good-hearted and right-minded among us--believe that healthcare reform is necessary, according to the polls. There may be real hope of becoming a civilized nation, after all. I'm keeping my morning Danish warm.