Today, I happened across a YouTube video from “filmmaker” Ray Griggs. The video, an anti-health care reform commercial, presents the obvious straw man argument that not everyone against health care reform is a racist. Numerous people look straight at the camera and say “I guess I’m a racist,” the implication being that they will be called one for disagreeing with a black President’s proposals. Clearly a straw man argument, this ad’s premise seems to be one of defending itself against accusations of racism that, for the most part, are non-existent. That said, there are three groups of people who really are against health reform with a strong public option (or better yet, a single-payer system). We will examine all three groups here, dear reader, you simply must see this video.
Okay, so we’ve all seen this monumental piece of vitriol, now take a moment to brush your teeth after (if you’re a rational person) you surely threw up in your mouth a little. All done? Good. Now let us discuss the groups of people who will see this video as being in their best interest.
Group #1: Health Care Executives
They don’t believe the ad at all. These guys know the stupidity of the argument in the commercial as well as or better than most people. These folks, also, are less concerned with skin color than they are with the only color that really matters; green. But the big reason guys like United Health’s Stephen Hemsley (with his over $700 million in compensation over the last 5 years) love this commercial is that it drives the debate away from the fact that, as previously stated, they make hundreds of millions of dollars working in an industry that serves no other function than to act as a middle man and skim off the top. Think; what service does a health insurance company actually provide? They gather everyone’s premiums together, pay some claims, deny others, and take what’s left over for themselves. We are all paying our premiums in order to have access to health care in an emergency, shouldn’t we be getting what we pay for? The fact, though, is that the all the money we pay that is not spent providing health care is in fact money lost to an entity that serves no purpose but to take the money from us in the first place. This ad diverts people away from that very essential fact, and therefore health care executives love it because their evil can go unnoticed by the masses for that much longer.
Group #2: Politicians
The hypocritical politicians who would spend every day telling us about the evils of single-payer health care have it. If they can have it, why are they so insistent that we don’t? It’s not a racial issue, and no one really believes that it is. Just like the executives of health insurance companies, the only color these people really care about is the green of the almighty dollar. In 2009, Blue Cross/Blue Shield spent over $16 million in lobbying expenditures. That’s one company for one year. If the American people had that kind of money to lobby our “elected” officials, we could have the same health care we pay for them to have. Of course, one of the biggest reasons we can’t spend that much on lobbyists is because we are forced to spend those hard-earned dollars on health care. Our congress is for sale to the highest bidder, which just happens to be the same people who will let you die if it hurts their profit margins. No mystery why they think the way they do. The nice thing for politicians, though, is that commercials like this tend to create a debate environment full of emotion and confusion. As long as people are disoriented and angry, they can be swayed in whatever way politicians desire, and what raises peoples’ ire more than racism (or being called racist)? The answer, of course, is nothing. As long as we have ads like this and people who treat them seriously, our electoral process will be a realm of feeling, rather than rational thoughts analyzing cold hard facts. Perfect for politicians bent on making themselves rich at the expense of the people.
Group #3: Morons
No, I don’t mean people with twelve wives and magic underwear who don’t even have the sense to drink and smoke. I’m talking about the kind of stupid person who takes the content of this commercial as something serious and well-reasoned. The end of this ad makes the statement “accusing us of being racists won’t stop us from saying no to a total government takeover of our health care system.” How does one respond to that statement? I might as well say “accusing me of being a platypus won’t stop me from being opposed to interstellar domination from the Karlaxian Empire.” No one’s accusing me of being a platypus. There is no Karlaxian Empire poised to take over the planet (as far as the government has told us, anyway). Just the same, there is no proposed total takeover of the health care system by the federal government. Have you read these bills? In addition to leaving anti-trust exemptions in place for health insurers, most proposals right now mandate that if there is a public option, states can opt out of it and it is mandated to be more expensive than private insurance. How will the government take over health care by offering higher-cost insurance only available to a small portion of the population (less than 10% last time I checked) only in states that don’t decide against making that public option an option? It won’t.
But the people who believe it will have their reasons. They watch nothing but FOX news. Glenn Beck is their personal savior. They know, because a dentist-lawyer-real estate agent with a bad accent told them, that Barack Obama is a secret Kenyan Muslim terrorist commie who is trying to take over their health care in order to force them to have taxpayer-funded abortions and kill their grandmas with a hammer and sickle. People believe this, and the same people believe that everyone is calling them racists because they are simply misunderstood. The only reason people can swallow so many lies about our President’s role in health care reform is if they are blinded by delusion and immune to the facts. To buy such crap they would have to be either racists, partisan hacks, and/or total cretins. Maybe the people in this commercial are right and they aren’t really racist. But if the people you see in this ad and those who agree with it aren’t racists, they are at the very least intentionally divisive or dangerously stupid, and American society can no longer tolerate that kind of idiocy while building our socialist utopia. Off to the death panels with them.