Thursday, March 25, 2010

More Hideous Demonstrations of DemoCRAZY

One good thing about being stuck in a hospital bed is that you get to watch TV. My kids like that part. Never mind the needles and the wires; you have a remote control in your lap! What can be so bad about that?

I got some TV time in last night. I saw Bill Maher and I watched the general news (on several channels). The gist of everything was the threats of violence that Democrats have been enduring in the days since healthcare reform passed the House.

Right-wing bloggers are calling for vandalism; lunatics are leaving death-threat voicemails for members of Congress; Michael Steele was frantically writing ominous Tweets; some Congressman was filmed smacking the (posterboard) face of Nancy Pelosi and then ran away like a sissy when a reporter asked him about it; leaders like Boehner are being blamed for inciting violence after making barely-veiled calls for it--later claiming, when pressed, that they were misunderstood and that of course, violence isn't reasonable; Tea Partiers are advertising home addresses of Democrats and urging people to "drop by;" Sarah Palin posted a graphic of the U.S. with cities in the cross-hairs on Facebook and called, via Twitter, for her supporters to "RELOAD!" and "aim for" Democrats.

Charming, isn't it? And undeniably dumb.

I've spent a long time working in journalism and PR, and I know that anything can be spun, or re-spun, that there are countless sides to every story. But I also know that Thuggish and Just Plain Mean behavior is pretty apparent and cannot ever be explained away, not even by the most talented flack on earth. 

As Forrest Gump and his mother both wisely put it, "Stupid is as stupid does."

Pundits are talking about a backlash against Democrats in November.  Oh, please, is what I say to that. It's just bitter, sore-loser talk; it's only speculation. 

First of all, November is way too soon to vote on whether or not HCR is working.

Also, I think when it comes down to it, when people realize that HCR is meant to help all Americans, when the screams fade away and the true story is finally understood, then that good, generous, thoughtful, humanitarian action (the one made by passing the bill) will speak for itself.

Finally, when the truth comes out, as the truth almost always does, I think the backlash will be against those who freaked out about HCR.

Did you see that video of the man with Parkinson's sitting on the sidewalk amidst Tea Partiers? They were screaming at him, calling him a deadbeat, a scum, a loser. Why? Because he was lazy enough to contract Parkinson's and now can't work. As Bill Maher said, "I hope that video goes viral,"--more people need to see the cruelty and utter lack of compassion behind the anti-HCR rhetoric.

Catch the video here (from Columbus Dispatch, not embeddable):
Scene w/Parkinson's man starts at 0:58.

That video is truly sad to see, but what's even sadder than the savage epithets and lack of caring recently shown by some protesters is the fact that some political leaders are trying to stir the pot here and make it even worse. They know there are people out there who are just foolish enough to listen to them and do their dirty work.

If and when something bad happens, the people who originally made the crazy comments will, of course, claim it's not their fault.

But I also just saw on TV that some kids were charged with homicide in Philadelphia for scaring the pizza delivery guy so much that he had a heart attack.

Hmmm.  If kids can get charged for a tragic accident caused by their own lack-of-judgment and moral lapses, then what about Congresspeople?  There's something to think about.

In the meantime, I am trying to relax and recover.  In case I don't post again for a while, the below essay from the past summer may serve as good coffee break reading.

Be well,


FROM SUMMER '09 (still entirely relevant):

I keep checking the weather report just to see, to better understand, why I feel so ridiculously hot. I feel uncomfortable, like my head is burning, like I might-be-getting-sick kind of hot.

Yesterday, the pool felt like a lukewarm bath, and it did nothing whatsoever to cool me off. My children were cranky. I was short-tempered. The day was miserable, as such late summer days can be.

So I checked the weather for today--after a very sweaty, and early, dog-walk.

For a while, my local weather was set on some strange part of California (why, I have no idea. I haven't been to California in ten years), so no wonder it hadn't been making any sense. I fixed that. But it still doesn't make sense. It is oppressively, ridiculously hot outside. Yet, says the temperature is 87 degrees Fahrenheit (but notes that it "feels like 92 degrees"). What???

If it FEELS LIKE 92 degrees, then why don't we just call it 92 degrees? Or are we trying to pretend (as usual) that the Earth isn't really any hotter than it used to be? The system of how we decide what the temperature is seems a bit crazy.

There is so much crazy stuff--beyond the weather--happening out there in this too-hot world. It's more than simply global warming or a temporary heat wave. It's an epic national inability to see and articulate what isn't making sense, and simply fix the problems.

Here's a problem for you, here's some more craziness: people I might classify as "disturbed" can openly tote assault rifles to President Obama's appearances (imagine that happening in the Bush years). Does that make any sense at all?

I remember my father cajoling me into seeing President George H.W. Bush speak on the last day before the election in '92, when he knew he was losing. I remember the tingle and the palpable smell of the electricity emitted by all the metal detectors trucked in for the event; I can still see, in my nightmares, the looming black-clad SWAT team on top of all the buildings in my hometown. That whole presidential security scene was truly frightening, surreal.

What made it even freakier (and noteworthy, for me, as this amused me highly at the time) was that during this president's speech, a lone protester slowly raised a very tall homemade sign-on-a-stick that read simply, LIAR.

That sign waved in the air for approximately two seconds. The protester was summarily tackled by Secret Service, and I never saw him again. He remains, however, a sort of hero to me. I believe in freedom of speech. I also believe in nonviolence. I hate guns and cannot understand why any rational person would walk around with one (besides police officers).

So Obama is in Arizona the other day and certain people were taunting him by milling around with ASSAULT RIFLES on their backs. People are, apparently, legally allowed to carry weapons in public in Arizona (and in New Hampshire). Even to a Presidential appearance.

This is absolutely the dumbest thing I've ever heard, read or seen. It's also downright dangerous. And if I recall correctly, even people in plain old T-shirts (albeit emblazoned with anti-Bush slogans) weren't allowed anywhere near Bush; in fact, they were arrested...pre-emptively.

If you have been reading (or watching) the news, you can see that we in America seem to veer from ignorant (and planted), annoying protesters at Town Hall-style health care reform meetings to these violently racist and scary Obama-haters who are essentially threatening to assassinate a Really Good Guy, our President, because he isn't an idiot, because he wants to help people have health insurance, and because he wants banks to lend money so people don't lose their homes! Think about it: by lugging a weapon to a presidential appearance, these people are each saying, "I could kill you. I could kill anyone who disagrees with me. And I just might!"

I can't deal with this sometimes. I can't believe I live in a nation where this hideous demonstration of "democracy" can happen. Let's just call it what it is: demoCRAZY. A demonstration of pure craziness.

But maybe I should forgive the people who are making my head hurt. It IS pretty hot outside.


  1. I hope your hospital stay is not for a serious reason and my wish is your children are well cared for so you can concentrate on getting better. Nothing matters more than your family and your health.

  2. I guess I am sort of like the pizza guy...but I survived and am home at this point with my kids.

    Thanks for writing.

  3. Love it! So well put. "Stupid is as stupid does," indeed.

  4. Teachers are GreatMarch 26, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    Loved your piece this morning...hit on all cylinders. The rhetoric is so charged that it's almost as if the GOP/Teabaggers are hoping for something bad to is a scary I pray...

  5. Thank you (belatedly).

    The truth must out, and I think we get an interesting wide-angle view of what's really going on with video from all these stump speeches, crowd reaction shots, etc.

    it's all pretty scary, as you say. I don't know what's worse--the ignorance or the misguided anger.