Refocusing the Debate
Last night on the Rachel Maddow Show, Bernie Sanders made an excellent point. He reminded us that all the shouting and false talk about euthanasia from the right wing has distracted the country from what we really need to be talking about – the health care crisis that already affects most people in this country. (The relevant part of the video starts at about the 6:00 mark.)
It’s a devilish strategy. As long as the proponents of meaningful reform are spending their time decrying those who disrupt rallies and debunking outrageous "death panel" lies, the obvious case for health care reform does not have a chance to be made. The opponenets of reform know that facts and logic are against them, so their plan is to do anything and everything they can to keep the conversation emotional and illogical.
How do we counter the lies and the scare tactics, which can’t go unanswered, at the same time we keep the conversation focused on the unacceptability of the current situation? How do we get people thinking not about the absurd prospect of a "government bureaucrat" deciding who lives and dies, but instead about the very present reality of insurance executives making the decisions of life and death? How do we focus attention on the 47 million already without insurance and the untold additional millions with inadequate or fraudulent coverage?
The only solution is for every person who sees the need for reform to speak up as much as humanly possible – and not only to reject the ridiculous lies and shouting, but to take the additional step of refocusing on what’s really important. Whether in ordinary conversations, in online forums, or in any other place where the subject might come up – the key is to keep the right-wing crazies from dictating the agenda, which is something they have been very successful at so far.
Polls consistently show that about three-quarters of Americans support a government-sponsored health care plan. It’s time that the conversation around the country reflected that desire, but it’s never going to happen if this majority remains silent.