There was a lot of craziness going on in the latest GOP debate, hosted by CNN and the Tea Party, most of it involving the various candidates playing wack-a-mole with Texas Gov. Rick Perry. But the most startling moment was during a hypothetical question posed by Wolf Blitzer about a 30-something, once healthy uninsured guy who didn't buy insurance when he could afford it, but got really sick and might die. Should we should let him die? While Ron Paul was trying to give his "go to a church for help if you're uninsured and dying of an illness answer" (more on that later), the crowd got a little restless and cheered for letting the dude die.
On top of the last debate where folks cheered Gov. Rick Perry's death penalty rate in Texas -- even when some of those folks killed were likely innocent -- has demonstrated a bloodlust among the conservative, "pro-lifer" crowd. Once again proving, the best thing you can do as a human being with these folks is stay a fetus as long as possible.
Once you get out, you're on your own.
From The Houston Chronicle:
When debate moderator Wolf Blitzer brought up a hypothetical young, uninsured American in a coma, he asked, “Are you saying society should just let him die?” and the tea party crowd cheered, some shouting, “Yes!”
Rep. Ron Paul, the other candidate from Texas and the most libertarian of the GOP hopefuls, was more compassionate than that in his response, as a doctor and as a Christian.
Paul, a Baptist, referred to his early career working at the Santa Rosa hospital in San Antonio, where churches helped cover costs of needy patients so the Catholic system “never turned anybody away.”
“We’ve given up on this concept that we might assume responsibility for ourselves, that our neighbors, our friends, our churches would do it,” said Paul, an opponent to federal healthcare as well Medicaid and Medicare plans.
Ron Paul's long answer was tax-payer funded government healthcare was "welfare-ism" and the price of "freedom" is that you may end up dying of some stuff no one dies from anymore because you didn't have insurance. He said we should rely on each other (and corrupt health care monopolies) and not government, which ... Oh, OK. That would make sense if we lived in a perfect world where people wouldn't look the other way while a homeless man dies in the street from heat stroke in the summer time. But we live in a nation where we look the other way. Where the church, depending on the church, will not take care of you if you get sick. In fact, I'd gather a lot of folks in that audience considered themselves to be fairly religious, but even they'd bristle if the neighborhood started treating their parishes and mega churches like Blue Cross/Blue Shield.
Most churches collect money to keep the church going and spread the word. Not to fix your kid's eye infection.
This is a country where the poor and unemployed are discriminated against for being "lazy" whether they've been searching for work for six weeks or six years, so it's not shocking that those with money and jobs would be uninterested in saving anyone's ass but their own.
In fact, the whole point of the Libertarian "me, me, me" model is that individuals DON'T have to take care of each other and have the "choice" to let those less fortunate than them suffer. Most people ignore how Jesus felt about hookers, lepers and undesirables, and instead focus on things like "the Prosperity Gospel" which argues that if you're good and pray hard enough you'll be rewarded with a great job, money and an awesome life.
Many people have this attitude that the poor are poor because they deserve it, not that it is truly hard to make a move to a higher class ranking in our society when you're starting from a negative position. They think, whether they had to struggle for their position or were born into it, that they had to "work" (or their grandparents had to work) to not die of influenza, so everyone else should to "work" to not die of the flu as well. Everyone focuses on the success stories and ignores the millions of people who don't make it out and die poor due to circumstances beyond their control. We ignore what a leg up being born educated, financially stable, white or male in this country can be. I, for example, didn't have as far to climb up as my parents did, since they'd done the heavy lifting out of poverty and into the middle class. My goal was always to stay middle class, then eventually do better, working myself up to a higher class ranking.
Nope, this "let them eat death, poor people aren't good enough for cake" attitude is more about: "I have money and I don't want to use it to help other people I don't know even if by helping those other people it makes our society a better, healthier and more fair place. I embrace the jungle of life where, in most cases, I'm already a winner, or, I hold on to the dream that someday I will be the winner and I too can use a small poor child as a foot rest after a long day of money counting."
This kind of attitude -- a weird perversion of the perfectly fine Protestant work ethic -- has always been around in American society. Heck, it was pretty much the poor white person's justification for slavery, as maybe, one day, they'd get some darkies to love-and-or-horribly-abuse. What was the point in "fairness" if those meant to be beneath you became your equals?
The Right Wing belief that being able to live a long and healthy life is something you earn through being wealthy enough to afford it, is a pretty bleak, "let's return to Feudalism" take on modern Western society. And it's an especially shocking take when countries as radical and foreign to America as our English speaking siblings Australia, Canada and Great Britain, have some form of universal healthcare.
But the most disturbing thing about the health care discussion during these debates, is how powerless everyone on the stage acts towards the health care companies that line their pockets. They all pretend health care costs are just high for no reason, not because the government allows health care companies to hold monopolies in individual states and that the government doesn't negotiate a lower rate for its own pharmaceuticals through Medicare and the Veterans Association, therefore lowering the price for everyone else.
Instead, the government agrees to pay the same insane, bloated, monopoly-based cost because ... well, I can't even say "something, something Free Market" because a monopoly that's propped up through government being paid off by healthcare companies to suppress competition and encourage waste, high prices and mediocrity is pretty much the opposite of "something, something Free Market." But Ron Paul and Rick Perry, Mittens and Michele Bachmann weren't arguing that government needs to stop propping up these bloated monopolies to encourage more competition among health care companies and drive down these insane costs because that's what a Free Market is supposed to be.
Instead, it's ... um ... can't you just ask your minister for help with your mental illness/diabetes/cancer?
And don't even get me started on Mittens, with his "I was for universal healthcare before I was against it" bull crap. He knows it's the right thing and has made a pivot for purely political reasons.
Again, the logic of putting someone in charge of government who is vehemently opposed to making it work makes no sense to me, unless your goal is to continue to create a failed state of greed and oppression.
Aside from this: The other side show during last night's debate was when Michele Bachmann came back to life and told Rick Perry that he'd been bought out by a Big Pharma company, Merck, when he made that executive decision to vaccine Texas' 11 and 12-year-old girls from HPV. Perry got huffy and said Merck only donated $5,000 in what was a multi-million dollar campaign, so if he could be bought off for five grand he was offended. Bachmann still essentially called the guy some child pervert though, obsessed with vaccinating "innocent" young girls from some whore's disease that leads to cervical cancer.
For the record, Merck gave Perry $30,000 dollars.
*And now, for the two geeks who read this blog who got the joke reference "The cake is a lie."