*So we finally got (some) health care reform. It’s not what we want or need, and it gives politicians a different reason not to touch it again for 15 years (“We fixed it! Time to move on!”) and the insurance companies no doubt already have plans for how they’re going to weasel out of the restrictions placed on them, but we got something and something is better than nothing.
But man, all the crap we had to go through to get there. This drama has really shown what lies just under the surface of our political system, and it’s an ugly, horrific picture.
We have the “winners” in this ordeal, the Democrats, who started out on day one essentially throwing out everything their supporters want and making sure the soulless corporations who caused this situation weren’t going to be inconvenienced too much. Throughout the discussion they firmly kept their eye on the mythical supporters they have been courting for the past decade or so instead of the people who actually elected them. And — surprise! — the well-meaning yet weak and spineless party delivered a well-meaning but weak and spineless bill that, at best, people support because hey, “something is better than nothing”*.
Then we have the Republicans. This is the party who has, for some time now, framed all political discussion as a zero-sum game. Forget what’s best for the country, if the Democrats pass any bill at all, the Republicans “lose” and that is unacceptable. Their idea of compromise is to simply let them have their own way, and in return they’ll be a little less angry, but still mad because even though you let them have all your birthday presents and eat all your cake and have exclusive entry rights to the bouncy house, you didn’t also vote them “prettiest kid at the party” and that hurts their feelings. They opposed this from the beginning, giving no actual reason for the opposition, just being agin’ it wholescale. They shrieked with outrage at utterly mundane congressional practices that (of course) they themselves had used dozens of times. They lied and shouted and shouted lies and frothed and held their breath and turned blue and recoiled at any attempt to work together on some kind of bill that might help people, and now that something has still managed to be passed they’re promising that they are going to do whatever they can to repeal it, even the popular parts, because they want to start over.
McCain has also promised “There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year,”, which, considering what they’ve been doing, makes one wonder how the hell they could possibly cooperate less.
In short, the Republicans are going to stonewall any further bills and try to remove this one no matter how many of their constituents might be helped because anything successful that happens when the Democrats are in power is a “loss” for them and that is unacceptable. That is how they are approaching their duties as representatives, and it’s sickening.
And speaking of sickening, our next major player is the execrable Tea Party, which tore off its disguise as merely a bunch of ignorant, rabid, hateful morons and revealed themselves to be ignorant, rabid, hateful racist morons, to the utter surprise of maybe one or two guys at CNN and nobody else. The group showed up in small (but widely-reported) numbers to spread its core message of “IF YOU AREN’T ME THEN FUCK YOU”. When they started calling lawmakers “niggers” and “faggots”, the right-wing pundits demanded apologies: from the lawmakers. That we have this many people ready to work themselves into a lather over anything Glenn Beck tells them to be angry about is frightening enough, but the fact that they were allowed to have so much of a say in the “debate” is even worse. America, always proud to declare its ignorance to the rest of the world, finally has a “party” that luxuriates in such behavior, and the media just can’t get enough of them.
Yes, the media. They couldn’t be bothered to report on anti-war protestors in 2003, but if two Tea Party assholes got into the same elevator they had to share it with 300 reporters who all wanted to know what this meant for the major parties. The media is fascinated by the media’s fascination with these dipshits, and made sure that they had an equal voice in the health care “discussion”, even if it was a slurred voice that had no idea what it was talking about and sounded vaguely like Glenn Beck trying to keep his lips from moving. As usual, the media happily reported any and all lies about the bill that anyone told, seeing the task of pointing out that the statements were provably false as somebody else’s job. Nor did the media bother to do much reporting on what was actually in the bill, preferring instead to simply report on what people were saying or lying about the bill. Many Americans still don’t know what’s in the goddamned thing because all the news is simply about the Republicans being all grumpy-faced for “losing” this one and the Democrats achieving “victory”.
This bill and the absurd, nightmarish circus surrounding it is not an example of the old adage about watching sausage get made. It’s about watching shit get made, in graphic, high-definition detail, while being described as sausage. This is the grand and glorious democracy that will make people will bitch at you if you choose not to participate in it. This is model we present to the world as the greatest government in history, a guide for everyone else, and get cranky if anyone disagrees.
I’m too sickened to cheer for this health care bill.