I'd like to make a quick point that I think needs to be injected into the health care debate. Watching the footage of the town hall carnage over the past few weeks has been discouraging, to be sure, but we need to remember that although a lot of the people causing the disruptions are AstroTurf fucks, there is also a sizable part of the population that is simply dreadfully misinformed.
The clearest example of our under-education is the unfortunate appearance of the "Keep the government out of my Medicare" meme. All around the country we've seen and heard instances of the elderly or the poor, many of whom receive insurance directly from the government, demanding that Big Government not mess up their Medicare. It's funny, sure, but it's also sad.
To what extent you blame people themselves for their ignorance and to what extent you blame society is a personal choice, but I will say that with a properly functioning media this meme wouldn't have made it past day 1.
This episode reminds me of a poll taken 5 years after 9/11, where 46%, 46%, of the population still believed that Sadaam Hussein played a role in the 9/11 attacks. It is very startling to realize that many people in the country simply have no idea at all about basic facts that relate to their lives. How is this possible?
How, and I'm asking this honestly, is it possible that somebody who receives Medicare doesn't know that it's a government program? How can somebody simultaneously love Medicare but hate the idea of government provided insurance? It boggles the mind.
Is it possible to educate the citizenry in this country? I have no idea, but without a massive campaign to discredit the lies issuing forth from insurance lobbyists, the GOP, the Blue Dogs, and in some instances the White House itself, it will continue to be very difficult to distinguish the hateful from the ignorant.