Saturday, August 08, 2009

Time Out

The insurance company-promoted violent mobs preventing citizens from hearing their (Democratic) members of Congress on the important pending healthcare legislation, the TV and radio traitors ginning them up, the rapid growth of Rabid Right terrorism--at the same time as headlines suggest a retreat to meaningless reform--is all so upsetting that my dear partner has warned me to stay off the news for awhile. So I will. In a minute.

I don't actually participate much at Daily Kos these days, but the alarm there is palpable and not entirely extreme. While the frontpagers catalog the parade of outright lies and fraud, as well as the accelerating threats and acts of violence, diarists like this one and this one and this one analyze the nasty direction. And I'm not going to let the historical echoes be preempted by the projections of the Rabid Right, because it all does remind me of what I've read about Germany in the 30s, when the Nazis were just starting to make their move.

Paul Krugman got a lot of attention with his column, and he rightly ascribed a lot of the emotion involved to racial paranoia and outright racism:

Many people hoped that last year’s election would mark the end of the “angry white voter” era in America. Indeed, voters who can be swayed by appeals to cultural and racial fear are a declining share of the electorate.

He also alluded to Yeats' scary apocalyptic poem:

But right now Mr. Obama’s backers seem to lack all conviction, perhaps because the prosaic reality of his administration isn’t living up to their dreams of transformation. Meanwhile, the angry right is filled with a passionate intensity.

And he concluded:

And if Mr. Obama can’t recapture some of the passion of 2008, can’t inspire his supporters to stand up and be heard, health care reform may well fail."

I have been getting emails from the Organizing for America organization that grew out of the Obama campaign, but they don't seem to be as creative and on top of stuff as they were then, or so it seems to me. Still, I've called my congressman as they requested (he's also had a town meeting disrupted, though that was far from here--this district is spread over an enormous area. Interesting that they shouted What's wrong with profit? which doesn't sound very populist, but goes pretty much to the heart of what's wrong with healthcare.) And yes, I've even contributed some money again, to pro-healthcare reform ads. But none of it seems like enough so far.

But I'm hoping to take the weekend off, for my mental health. And I'll give the last word to Bill Maher in his cogent column: New Rule: Just because a country elects a smart president doesn't make it a smart country.

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