Truth or Consequences?
Which do we focus on?
Two nights ago, Congressman Joe Wilson succeeded in doing two things: Firstly, he put himself and his own party on the defensive. More devastatingly, he put President Barack Obama on the defensive. What’s not being properly explicated is that the president was speaking the truth. And, as Megan Carpentier said yesterday of Obama’s speech, nothing’s really changed in the health care debate since last week. Except that Joe Wilson succeeded in diverting attention from what’s true to merely what’s not true. Exposing a lie as a lie does not necessarily bring the truth to light.
What we’ve heard in the blogosphere is Joe Wilson accepting $471,396 over the course of his Congressional career from health professionals, HMO’s, insurance companies, Big Pharma, nursing homes and hospitals. We’ve heard about him wanting to fly the confederate flag over the South Carolina State Capitol. We’ve heard about his membership in the SCV, a secessionist organization that’s been taken over by radical racists. We’ve heard about him lambasting Congressman Bob Filner for telling the truth about the lies surrounding the Iraq invasion. We’ve heard about him publicly insulting Strom Thurmond’s daughter for coming out and admitting that the racist senator of South Carolina had a biracial child.
If Joe Wilson’s aim was to hijack the health care debate and to focus less on the Democratic proposals and more on the Republican proposals, which amount to little more than torpedoing any reform whatsoever, then he succeeded while likely imploding his own incumbency. His rival, Bob Miller, was until two nights ago a dark horse candidate with no chance of winning Wilson's seat. Now his campaign has been infused with nearly three quarters of a million Act Blue dollars alone and his candidacy is now not so laughable.
Wilson’s outburst revealed racist dog whistle language that was hardly more subtle than Saxby Chambliss, another racist southern Republican, and his calls for Obama to show some “humility” to the illegitimate sons and daughters of the GOP who turned town halls into WWE spectacles. But we already know that Republicans by and large are racist, especially those who hail from the deep south and Midwest.
We already know that the Republican Party embraces lies troweled out on a daily basis by the health care and pharmaceutical industries, Michele Bachmann’s inner voices and Sarah Palin’s Facebook page. We already know that Republicans especially are deeply inserted into the bottomless pockets of these health care racketeers. What more did we actually learn?
For those of us who were actually paying attention instead of reacting like Tourette’s patients, we learned that Obama continually reaches out to the same people who have been victimizing us for years, namely Republicans and the health care racket. He strongly signaled that he would drop the public option, which is at best a poor country cousin to the single payer system that most Americans want. Obama’s proposal has so many gaps in it and is so dependent on conjecture and blind faith that it actually resembles that famous cartoon where a mathematician draws an equation containing the words, “…and then a miracle occurs.”
But will Americans by and large be focusing on what the President and Democrats are prepared to saddle us with and making it mandatory (which only resulted in higher premiums here in Massachusetts when Mitt Romney signed his own health care bill. Plus, not all small businesses are offering insurance at all, much less affordable plans. In fact, a growing number are refusing to offer it because it’s too costly as it is.)? No, we’re focusing on some Republican rodeo clown for the health care racket. And, as with September 11th eight years ago, we’re letting destructive lies blind us to what could prove to be even more destructive truths.