Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Over The Line In The Health Care Debate

It's the Summer of Discontent for those who want to stop health care reform. Town Hall meetings for Representatives and Senators have been hijacked by protesters who have shouted any real discussion of issues into silence. Town Halls have turned into violent confrontations across the country. Death threats even forced the cancellation of a Town Hall in Vancouver, Washington.

While Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, says that criticizing the protesters shows that Democrats "don't want a debate over the merits," he has it exactly backward. The Town Hall Crybabies aren't wanting to discuss merits -- they use scare tactics (like Sarah Palin's infamous misrepresentation that "death panels" would decide if some one's elderly family member would receive end-of-life care) and refuse to allow anyone to respond to them, most often by shouting "Just Say No" during the discussion.

As we now know, these protests are not some "grassroots" explosion against health care reform. Instead, it is a coordinated, strategic attempt by conservatives to frustrate discussion:
Town Hall Action Memo

"Americans for Prosperity," an anti-health care group that should really be called "Prosperous Americans for Themselves," is organizing a bus tour to take protestors across the country. The "Patients First" group contends:

"We don't want legislators to come between them and their doctor. The relationship that exists between doctors and patients is sacred and should not be interfered with."
Imagine that. I guess Prosperous Americans have never had to get their health care pre-cleared by their insurance company before going to the hospital.

At Y'all Politics, the focus has been on Rep. Travis Childers, who has yet to declare himself on the President's proposal. And this time YP has gone too far. The two-minute video attack on Rep. Childers' visit to Israel is -- yes, I will say it -- Anti-Semitic. What else do you call an ad that plays Jewish music in the background, tells the Representative to "get a souvenir yarmulke" on the trip and shows pictures of orthodox Jews juxtaposed with Americans at Town Hall meetings? (Note: I am attacking the ad, not the website or its owner.)

Sid Salter finds a "liberal double standard" at play in the criticism of the Town Hall Crybabies.

Sorry, folks. This is not just "protest." Lest we forget, disruption of public meetings was part of Hitler's original strategy to undermine democratic debate in Weimar Germany. That's exactly what the "Brown Shirts" were formed to do:

Hitler also organized the Stormtroopers (S.A. or the Brown Shirts) to protect the Nazi meetings and disrupt the meetings of other parties, for example, the Communist Party.
See full article here.

You want a full debate on the merits of health care reform? Let's have one. Let's talk specific logistical issues of delivering high-quality health care to every American. Let's ask how many people have had some or all of their health care costs denied by their insurance company. Let's ask how many people have had to seek pre-clearance of a specific health care procedure by their insurance company. Let's ask how much of an average person's health care invoice is increased in order to pay the hospital, doctor, etc for the uncompensated treatment of uninsured Americans.

You want to scare people by calling health care reform "socialist" or playing Jewish music? Then the word for your tactics is un-American. Sometimes Nancy Pelosi is right.


Anonymous said...

Jim, how can an attack video produced and promoted by the website owner -- as detailed in the credits at the end -- not be an example of said owner's own anti-Semitism, or, at the minimum their own terrible judgment?

Either call 'em strikes or balls but please save us from pretending that there is some in-between.

Jim Craig said...

MSbeerbait: I can't judge someone's heart. I can only "call balls and strikes" on behavior and stated beliefs. There was no stated belief with respect to Israel in the video, so I have nothing to assess with respect to the videographer's beliefs. The behavior was, in my opinion, Anti-Semitic, and I said so.

Kingfish said...

Ridiculous. I watched the video and it was a slam of Childers, not Jews. If Childers had traveled to France or China and Lange had done the same thing, there would've been nothing racist about it.

Asking Childers WHY he is going there when there IS an important debate taking place is a legitimate question and you know it. That version of Havah Nagelah was actually a very nice one. Would like to know who performed it.

That video did not disparage Jews or Israel in any way and I say that as a heavy defender of Israel.

Lets see how strongly you defend Israel when they finally attack Iran in the next 18 months.

Jim Craig said...

KF, I too am a defender of Israel and I say, if they attack Iran, which just re-inaugurated a President who has proclaimed they should not exist as a nation, more power to them.

Anonymous said...

Okay Jim I'll put you down as agreeing that the video represented terrible judgment. Unless you find the need to wiggle out of that too.

Jim Craig said...

I'd say worse than "terrible judgment." I said on the post that it was an Anti-Semitic act, and it pandered to those who harbor such prejudices.

hicken said...

I thought Alan Lange was Jewish. I guess I assumed "Lange" was German-Jewish surname. I hope my assumption was not anti-semetic. But then if he isn't Jewish, I guess it can't be. It would be non-anti-semetic. But then I wasn't making a value judgment in the assumption, so it might have been pro-semetic. Does any discussion about a Semite require it to be pro or anti or can it be an a-semetic? I'm confused I guess.

All I know is I don't care what your ethnicity or religion is. I do support Israel as a friend of America.

I agree with Kingfish. If Childers had gone to France and the video featured French bohemians and berets, with French music in the background, it would not make the video anti-French.

Jim Craig said...

The problem is that the video didn't have pictures of France with French music playing in the background. Also, there isn't a history of fear, hatred, and conspiracy theories about the nefarious influence of the French on American politics. There isn't a document called "Protocols of the Elders of Paris." Etc. So even if such a video were made, it wouldn't have the same impact as this one does.

Let's assume the video only said that Rep. Childers was going to the Middle East to look at the security of our allies there. Think it would have the same impact?

hicken said...

JC, no, because music and images increase an impact. Look, I'm with you. I despise anti-Semitism. But I'm not with you that THIS is anti-Semitism. Some thought John Arthur Eaves's commercials in 2007 talking about "throwing out the money changers" was anti-Semitic. I didn't think so. Maybe you'd disagree.

I guess my question is, how could it have been done differently? Would a different Jewish song have been ok? Would different items from Jewish culture been ok? Or is all that off limits? Alan Lange wasn't saying "Travis Childers is a puppet of Zionists" or anything crazy like that. He was saying Childers dodged the healthcare debate by going to Israel and has a movie that wouldn't be unlike what I would make if I took a vacation to Israel (minus the woman with the gun pointing at me, which was pretty cool).

Kingfish said...

Suppose instead of Israel it was instead Germany and he was showing pictures of beergirls and playing German music and showing other things local to germany.

would you even make that post as being anti-German?

Better yet, suppose it was France. Would you call Lange's post anti-French?

Nope. It did not disparage Jews in any way.

Anonymous said...

Suppose Childers had gone to San Francisco and Lange created a video featuring pics of gays and lesbians kissing after being married with some photos from the Gay Freedom parade. Using your criteria Kingfish doing so would be completely legit since it would be local to San Francisco.

hicken said...

Alan Lange pulled the video. He posted I did get a little feedback from a couple of friends in the Jewish community who I trust who said that the piece, while not overtly inflammatory or offensive, had imagery that was “on the line” and could be taken the wrong way without the political context. Since the Jewish faith was certainly not the focus of the video, I immediately made the decision to remove it from YouTube and from YallPolitics.

hicken said...

I suppose his removal of the video, now, is pro-Semitic.

Wedded Bliss said...

That's phil-semitic, thank you.

Christopher said...

Godwin's Law, only backwards.

Kingfish said...

Thats ok, I have something in mind tomorrow.