Friday, June 12, 2009

Part D, Short Memories and So Much Hate

A couple of crazy people murdered citizens in the past couple of weeks. The backgrounds of the crazies were such that they are generally associated with the lunatic fringe of far-right thinking. One of those murdered was a man that Bill O’Reilly has routinely referred to on his Fox TV talk show as “Tiller the baby killer,” a licensed physician who performed legal abortions authorized by both federal law and the laws of the State of Kansas where he practiced. In November, a black church under construction in Springfield, Mass. was burned to the ground by three men who bragged of doing so in protest of the election. In the same time frame, a cross was burned outside the home of a family of Obama supporters in Hardwick, N.J. A couple of guys at my local golf club in Michigan regularly refer to Nike golf balls as “nigger balls” (Tiger Woods, the best golfer in the history of the sport, is sponsored by Nike) and, almost to a person, everyone I talk to laments about the out-of-control spending of the Obama administration and that Obama is carrying us down the path of socialism. Part of this Obama administration stuff, Glenn Beck has asserted over the past few weeks on his Fox TV talk show, is the intimation that FEMA may be running “concentration camps” of American citizens. The other incident, the murder of a black guard working at the site of the Holocaust Museum in Washington was his shooting by a crazy man whose background and working papers decreed hatred of all things different to him including Jews, blacks, and Obama.

Let me switch briefly to Part D and short memories. Part D is the Republican created and supported part of Medicare which, by and large, gives Medicare recipients free drugs. Now, one might say to me, ‘Thomas, you are such a flaming liberal, why are you against this massive government handout?’ First of all, the Bush administration lied about the cost of this program, claiming that it would only cost taxpayers 250 billion dollars when it knew that the real cost was $550 biliion dollars. The best part of the deal which was sold as being good for Americans was that Medicare administrators were prevented by the law from negotiating the prices of drugs with the drug industry. In other words, the supposedly staunchly conservative Republicans who continuously harp about governmental spending opened the coffers of the American treasury to the drug companies and said, ‘come on in and help yourself.’ I think, as a minimum, that it is curious that not one Republican, including Rush, the person that Republicans currently identify in polls as being the number one spokesperson for the party, has mentioned this boondoggle once. Cheney and Palin haven’t referred to it either. Curioser and curioser! Obama didn’t cause the economic mess he inherited from his Republican predecessors; they caused it. Why are memories so short?

As an old guy I am alarmed by these various events because the right seems to be surrendering its principles, with which I generally agree, to an emotion I can only characterize as irrational hatred. As a grandparent, I sat (proudly) through two graduation exercises yesterday and both of the classes from middle class, relatively affluent, areas of southeast Michigan, were striking in their diversity; caucasions, blacks, Arab and Asian children in abundance. It is my fervent hope that these children, working and playing side-by-side, will begin to eliminate this ugly hatred that percolates through our society at the present time. We live in a great society that is changing. I issue this as a challenge to all Republicans. Step up to the plate. Examine your belief system and ask whether what you are doing and advocating is based on hate and, if it is, change it. Damn it, change it!

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