Friday, August 28, 2009

The Prejudice Opposing Health Care Reform

One day this will all be history. And I hope this generation and the ones that follow will see the important lessons to be learned. One of the most important of which is how strong is the grip by American corporations on our country and our politicians.

In theory, I suppose, American corporations are not a bad thing. But when you factor in greed, and when greed is piggybacked on war profits, oh boy…! All hell breaks loose.

Every political era has its defining moments and its defining issues. It is no different now than it was in the 60s when I was a kid. With Ted Kennedy’s death, Obama on the ropes (hopefully doing a rope-a-dope), the Democrats being weak and spineless and the Republicans also on the ropes but screaming as if vocal intimidation instead of hard hitting punches will win the match, health care reform and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the defining issues of today.

The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a defining moment in America because it helped lead to the correction of a centuries-old travesty in America, meaning slavery and discrimination against the descendents of slaves.

The possible passage of health care reform is similar to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in at least one respect which has to do with prejudice. In the case of health care reform that prejudice is based on class.

Perhaps because we are so focused on white/black and white/Hispanic racism, we have totally ignored and, therefore, not become educated about, nor had a national conversation about class prejudice. It seems that classism and class prejudice was discussed much more a century ago and through the Depression.

But that all seemed to be swept away by the American victory in WWII and to be crushed by the anti-Communist witch hunt of the McCarthy era in the early 1950s and replaced by the growing Civil Rights Movement in the mid-50s through to today with the election of America’s first African-American president and the appointment of our first Latina Supreme Court Justice.

Insurance industry CEOs and their corporate capo regimes are like the Jim Crow bigots of the Old South. They are the lords of the health care power structure just as some Whites in the Old South were the lords of that power structure.

Possible passage of a bill requiring all Americans to carry insurance so that insurance companies make money of the now uninsured 46 million means they control every aspect of health care in America just as the lords in the Jim Crow South controlled nearly all aspects of life for blacks back then.

Insurance industry CEOs view people with disdain and contempt because they know they need us just as the Old South Whites—especially the slave masters—viewed blacks with contempt and hatred and violence because they knew they needed them for as one of the primary pillars of their agrarian economy.

Just as the white power structure in America determined which blacks they approved of, the insurance industry power structure does the same with who gets an operation, who gets an operation denied and who gets coverage period.

Those in Congress now are like those Dixiecrats back in the 60s who tried to maintain their status quo on segregation until the Kennedys, Martin Luther King, Jr., LBJ and others forced the Civil Rights Act through Congress.

The insurance and health industries and their Congressional minions want to maintain the status quo and put the prejudiced power structure and its profits over providing the human right of adequate health care for the People. “The People” in America has always represented a class of people which is usually the heart and soul of America—the poor and working class and small business owners.

One cannot have such a profound lack of compassion for something as fundamental to compassion itself as quality and affordable health care unless they already have a prejudice, a disdain and contempt for “the People”.

Those opposed to the principles of equality during the Civil Rights Movement often resorted to convoluted logic and confused doubletalk when trying to explain why segregation was good and how white superiority was “God’s will”.

We hear this same convoluted logic and confused doubletalk today from Republicans and Democrats opposed to health care reform on unspoken class grounds.

Others simply won’t even participate in the discussion. There are Congresspersons, Democrat and Republican, who won’t even read the bills and won’t vote for health care reform anyway.

Just as they called Martin Luther King, Jr. a “communist” because that was how their simplistic minds processed the concept of equality, they view health care reform as “socialism” because it benefits “We the People” and that is how their simplistic minds view equality.

There are those in the intelligentsia of the insurance industry power structure who use these buzzwords to inflame the situation. The ultimate irony is these racists are accusing Obama of being Hitler without making a coherent argument because they simply cannot due to a complete and total lack of logic inherent in its premise.
The vocal, violent mob mentality of the Old South’s power structure is very similar to what we see in the town hallers, the tea baggers and those “proud to be right wing terrorists” like that guy at the recent town hall in Reading, California.

The use of terrorism was how the Old South kept control over blacks, largely through the KKK and other vigilante means. The use of the town halls is how an insurance industry prejudiced against working class is keeping control over “the People”.

Between the two political parties, the Democrats were supposed to be for the people. Democrats like Ted Kennedy were, but many are not. Just as there were blacks known as Uncle Toms back in the day who sided with the white power structure that oppressed them and other blacks, many Democrats are traitors to the causes of the People because they are not of the same class.

Obviously Ted Kennedy was also not of the working class but was instructed from a very early age to help those less fortunate and that to whom much is given much is expected. That is compassion. But now they are trying to say that Kennedy was a “centrist” and not a liberal.

Just like some Whites in the Old South, Republicans and conservative Democrats believe that only they should be in power. They, like the Old South, believe it is God’s Will that they lead our country the way they see fit and the rest of us should shut up and be happy.

Now that we have a black president, can we now engage in some amount of discussion of classism in America without detracting from the worthy and ongoing national discussion of racism in America?

I still believe this moment in history gives us a profound opportunity to change America and make this country live up to its ideals that we so loudly profess to the rest of the world.

The forces that oppose health care reform in this country do so out of a deep, deep prejudice against the poor and working class in America. It is that simple and that discussion needs to be had on a national level so that we may out those bigots before they can poison our country any further.