I’ve been getting quite a political education lately. I wouldn’t call myself a conservative, and conservatives would call me liberal. For example, being gay, I am for equal rights for gays and lesbians. Not being stupid, I am against stupid wars, such as the one we are ending now in Iraq. I have watched in amazement as year after year, neocon philosophy took over the executive, legislative and judicial branches of our government. I really didn’t understand how it was happening. For example, I didn’t understand how the Supreme Court could hand a close and disputed election to George W. Bush in 2004. Somewhere along the line, I discovered that there were voices in the media who were not only speaking for my particular political bent, but were exposing how a certain financial/commercial/business power structure is controlling elections to maintain a so-called “free market” economy. The very same economy which recently nearly collapsed due to corporate greed and wasteful military spending.
I always enjoyed listening to public radio, even when I was driving 25 miles to work during my 33 year career as a college professor. For decades I have watched The News Hour on PBS. Conservatives have, of course, tirelessly worked to undermine public broadcasting. But because I stubbornly refused to have anything but the bottom tier of cable channels, it was not until I retired and got a fuller set of cable channels that I discovered Channel 47 (MSNBC) on Charter Cable. During weekday evenings, three cable newscasters now hold my attention. I try never to miss Rachel Maddow, and even if I don’t see her, I try to listen to her podcast. Keith Olbermann, though sometimes “over the top” has many eye-opening things to report. And, when I am feeling strong, and Chris Matthews is weaker than usual, I can take him for about a half hour. These three people have recently been exposing organized efforts of those supporting a conservative agenda, efforts that go largely unexposed in most media reporting.
What I have come to understand through these programs, I could never hope to explain or prove in 100 blog entries, let alone one. So I won’t try. Instead, I will just appeal to you. If you have never watched Rachel Maddow, or even The News Hour on PBS, then I appeal to you to give it a try. It may actually shock you.
To take just one example, I have come to understand, first through Channel 47, and now even reflected on the News Hour, that the recently publicized angrily shouting people who appear at congressional hearings on health care reform are actually not at all just spontaneous uprisings of grassroots America. To be sure, there may be a few “ordinary citizens” who have been frightened by the lies that are being told who come to these hearings. But it now appears that most of this agressive behavior is planned by corporate, medical, and pharmaceutical interests, and fanned by right-wing talk show hosts, such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. There are two aspects of this current drive to undercut President Obama’s drive to have a public insurance health care OPTION in the reformed plan. The first aspect is that dreadful, groundless lies are being told about what is behind the drive for health care reform. People are being told that the government wants to kill old people, that the government wants to take over health care entirely, that the government will deny hip operations but permit abortions. These lies are carefully concocted by commercial interests, who simply fear loosing revenue, and promulgated through TV and other media ads, and conservative organizations. And since the Republican party has as a group tended to support business and commericial interests over social and environmental concerns, they have a strong motive not to strongly confront or even to agree with the lies that are being told.
But it is the second aspect of all this that is truly of even more concern to me. Embedded in many of these business/conservative claims/ads are attempts to compare the Obama administration to socialist government or even Nazi government. Now get this. These commercial interests are organizing shouting matches in congressional hearings in an effort to undermine rational discussion and democratic process. They are in effect, themselves the fascists. It is these interests that want to reject a hispanic Supreme Court female judge and an African American president. I heard one of these podium pounders tonight compare Obama to Hitler and then talk about how Hitler’s solution eradicated 6 million jews. Well, Hitler also used fear and manipulation to frighten the German population into going along with his agenda. Perhaps it is not Obama, but his right-wing detractors who should be compared to Nazis.
I have a suspicion that you and I really have NO idea just how much we are controlled and manipulated by the large insurance companies, banks, parmaceutical and oil businesses. I would be rich probably if I had a nickle for everytime a corporate executive or a stockbroker laughed at peons like me. The plain fact is that money talks, money buys souls, and there is SO MUCH MONEY out there in the medical business, that it really can block effective change. What Obama has told us is that the current system is broken. Now millions are without health insurance. Obama has also said that if costs keep rising, the situation will get worse. Obama wants to inject a public health care option so that private insurance companies will have to bring costs down. Yet the major complaint I hear from the Republicans about his proposed plan is that he has no way of controlling costs in his plan. Just like calling Obama a Nazi, this is the pot calling the kettle black.
And maybe you and I will NEVER see anything but what we have now. A relative few people getting richer and most of us getting poorer and unhealthier. I hope that is not the case. In the meantime, watch Maddow, watch Gwen Ifil, watch the News Hour, and see if you can do something about this campaign of lies and manipulation that is launched to keep the system as it is (that is the conservative goal).