Aug 15, 2009

Depressing as hell. That's entertainment.

"Watching the president of the United States make the rounds to deny that Congress is planning 'death panels' while protesters compare him to the twentieth century's greatest monster is in some ways depressing. Looked at another way, though, it resembles nothing so much as good-old-fashioned entertainment. No screenwriter could possibly gin up a scenario this delightfully loony, and if one did, no one would believe it." — Peter Suderman, Reason
This is exactly where I find myself, watching the current healthcare debate unfold, somewhere exactly halfway between being depressed and entertained. Today, for example, the senate finance committee decided to drop the provisions for consultations for end-of-life care from the healthcare bill.* For no other reason but that Sarah Palin and others had lied about it so many times that the provision had become toxic. There was nothing wrong with it. Nobody had any objections to it. It would have provided crucial valuable consultations for those facing end-of-life care. A republican proposed it. But Palin saw an opportunity to blow it up into the spectre of government 'death panels' and now the provision is gone. Because a politician wanted to play a game. And everyone else caved.

It's the latter that I find most depressing. Nobody said: 'this is a bald-faced lie, I'm sure that when we get the truth before the American people, they will see it for what it is, Palin will look a fool and the millions will get the care they need'. They just gave up. The consequences of this seem to me nothing short of revolutionary. Obama can come up with the most thoughtful and effective immigration reform in the world, but if Palin claims there's a provision in it dealing with the enslavement of the white race, even if there is not, that bill will face certain defeat. Or if Obama decides he wants to let openly gay people into the military, and Palin says they will insist on wearing sequin-covered uniforms, even if they are not, that bill will be toast, too. And if Obama finally gets bin Laden in his sights and Palin suddenly screams "Don't let him kill my Trig!", even if Trig is nowhere nowhere near the target area, the airforce drones will be forced to abort their mission, turn around, and obediently return to their hangars. Amazing.

*Naturally, Palin had no choice but to celebrate her role in denying the terminally ill the opportunity to discuss with their doctors what they want in terms of end-of-life care. In a Facebook post, she wrote, “I join millions of Americans in expressing appreciation for the Senate Finance Committee’s decision to remove the provision in the pending health care bill that authorizes end-of-life consultations (Section 1233 of HR 3200).”

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