Mike the Mad Biologist

“My America” Meets Healthcare

teabag
‘Her America’ is disappearing. Supposedly, this is a bad thing.
(Doug Mills/New York Times)

TPM reports the following from a town meeting about healthcare in Arkansas:

The attendees’ overall theme was that their way of life was being destroyed…

“At this point in my life, I have never seen my America turned into what it has turned into, and I want my America back,” said one woman, on the verge of tears. “And I don’t think the Representatives and Senators are gonna be able to do it. I’m scared!”

Her America. Not our America (of course, were she to use “our America”, I suspect she wouldn’t be feeling very inclusive). Not America. Maybe she’s not just being eliminationist, just isolationist: perhaps she only wants her lebensraum. Either way, this has gone way beyond policy, beyond attempting to solve problems, and has entered the realm of identity politics, which is where much of the conservative movement is living these days:

…it’s an emotional appeal to a romanticized, mythical past of “real America.”

…Palin is conceptually and intellectually poor because her politics are not about policies, but a romantic restoration of the ‘real’ America to its rightful place. The primary purpose of politics is not to govern, not to provide services, and not to solve mundane, although often important, problems. For the Palinist, politics first and foremost exists to enable the social restoration of ‘real’ Americans (think about the phrase “red blooded American”) and the emotional and social advantages that restoration would provide to its followers (obviously, if you’re not a ‘real’ American, you might view this as a bad thing…). Practicalities of governance, such as compromise and worrying about reality-based outcomes, actually get in the way….

It’s not a forward-looking utopianism, but a desire to return to a mythical, halcyon America that was Christian, low-tax, small government, and had less racial and ethnic discord (the latter is the most absurd, but, if you were white, there weren’t racial problems: you were white–no problems!). This vision has not existed for decades, if at all, but it is a predictable reaction to the loss of primus inter pares status of Christian whites; they are no longer the default setting.

Any Blue Dog Democrats who think they can thread the needle with people who view what would essentially be lowering the age for Medicare to eighteen* as an existential threat is absurd. Maybe they’ll learn something from this. Or not.

*If you’re 65 or older and you work, you have the option to buy into the Medicare system–you pay premiums just like with private insurance. TEH SOCIALISMZ!! AIIEE!!!

Comments

  1. #1 Russell
    August 7, 2009

    I trust that cap has the appropriate base of tin foil.

  2. #2 Scrabcake
    August 7, 2009

    Oh man. This whole thing is becomming nightmarish. I am trying not to read much about healthcare reform because the thought that something that would benefit America so much might be derailed by such flaming idiocy depresses me. Ironically if there was national healthcare, people like this lady would probably be the first person on it. Sob. *My* America was populated by people who utilized the area between their ears once in a while. I want my America back. Oh wait. It hasn’t ever been that way.

  3. #3 JohnV
    August 7, 2009

    You know, some days all I can do is wonder “how can people be this stupid?”.

  4. #4 NewEnglandBob
    August 7, 2009

    ‘Her America’ is one of ignorance, fear, anti-science, anti-intellectualism, racism, xenophobia and anti-freedoms. We need to bury “Her America” so deep that it never rises again.

  5. #5 Bill
    August 7, 2009

    >
    > Her America. Not our America …
    >

    I feel for her–I really do–she’d probably be much happier if she got out of the terrible twos.

    Public policy, however, should be made by grownups; and grownups understand that they’re not the only people who matter.

  6. #6 Nico
    August 9, 2009

    Why would policy be set on the demands of people who wear teabags for hats, as a protest? Honestly!