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Jonathan Kraut: Reformers vs. hate and rage

Democratic Voices

Posted: August 17, 2009 6:37 p.m.
Updated: August 18, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Now, for the umpteenth time since our great nation was founded, the level of rage and hate has reached a fevered pitch.

Right now, the debate is focused on national health care and whether the government should have the power to support and implement a better medical/health insurance system for our citizens.

And it's the same two camps fighting it out: the reformers, who want improved conditions, and a small but loud contingent of some elderly, the afraid, the hateful, and some conservatives - all angry as hell with any possibility of change.

If nothing else, this latest battle over health care illuminates an age-old battle behind the scenes between those who wish to shift power and those who wish to keep it.

Enlisting anger, rage and hate to oppose new ideas is nothing new.

Oddly, the anger, rage and hate game is rarely characteristic of those in favor of reform.

The American experience regarding social change exhibits a common denominator whenever we address expanded rights or benefits for our citizens.

Somehow the "retain the power" camp always seems to attract a vocal contingent that would channel anger and outrage in opposition to change.

This has replayed in various forms over slavery, a woman's right to vote, equal minority rights and participation, and now health care, America seems to have an endless supply of ignorant, vicious haters, ready to be enlisted and directed to oppose the latest cause.

Now the debate is whether the government should support creating new systems that provide universal access and lower health care costs for everyone.

From the right and many Republicans, the answer is a big fat, "No."

No? No to finding ways to fix a greedy and out of control system, where payers' premiums are already doubled to cover the costs for anyone to walk into an emergency room for free treatment?

No to making national policies that lower costs for everyone? No to federal support for the people instead of for the lobbyists and their interests? No to learning from successful national health care programs used by other nations?

No to everything? Leave it the way it is, because if the government takes it over they might kill you?

We are already dying because proper prevention and treatment is too expensive for many.

We are already losing our homes because we cannot afford insurance premiums to protect us when we are sick and an illness drains both cash and equity.

Yet Republicans en masse are making and standing behind some of the lamest and most illogical arguments imaginable.

Too many are suffering for national health care, and it is an issue that won't go away until it is resolved.

Yes, the anti-health care activists are against something still in discussion, regardless of the fact that more than 100 Republican amendments have been introduced and included in the ever-evolving bill that is being reviewed by the House of Representatives.

Yes, the anti-health care activists are even against the Senate version of the bill that has NOT YET been published.

It is ironic that those on Medicare and receiving Social Security benefits are against government participating in your well-being.

Yes, the health insurance giants, mega pharmaceutical firms, national medical care providers and their agents have mobilized this latest round of hate and anger by misusing the very people who would benefit the most.

Sean Hannity ranted but a few days ago that this was "a battle between government control over your welfare and entrepreneurship and the free enterprise system ..."

Hannity is absolutely right. I want my government out in front, protecting me and my neighbors from those who have manipulated the medical care costs for personal gain and corporate profit.

Those who are opposed to any health care reform are on the wrong side of history, just like those didn't want to abolish slavery, or give women the right to vote.

Changes need to be implemented, so please stop yelling about that reform when you don't even know the details.

And direct the anger where it belongs - toward those who attack the very policies designed to protect you.

Jonathan Kraut is a Fair Oaks Resident, Officer of the Democratic Club of Santa Clarita and member of the Santa Clarita Interfaith Council and Human Relations Forum. His opinions do not necessarily reflect those of these organizations or The Signal. Democratic Voices" runs Tuesday in The Signal and rotates among several SCV Democrats.


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