At a fundraiser in California, President Obama slammed the GOP debates – particularly the moments when the audience cheered at the idea of sending someone to his death because he didn’t have health insurance and booed in reference to an openly gay member of the military. Obama insisted that these two incidents aren’t reflective of “who we are.”
Sorry, Mr. President, but that’s where you’re wrong – it’s exactly a reflection of the tenor of this country at this moment and that’s why it’s so important to have leadership that is willing to call folks on ignorant behavior and to ensure that fairness is being defended at every turn. The GOP panel was silent during the cheers and boo’s and later some offered insincere “unfortunates” when pressed on the behavior of their fans – but are we surprised? We shouldn’t be. The MO for most of the Republican party is divide and conquer – and they’ve been pretty successful at it.
Let’s look at the debate over healthcare – any attempt at overhauling our severely dysfunctional healthcare crisis (40 million people uninsured is a crisis no matter what John McCain tries to tell you) has been hampered by a) a severely inept Democratic party that doesn’t seem to know how to get its sh**t together when it comes to campaigning on this issue and b) a fantastically together GOP party that trades on hate and fear to get folks to vote against their own best interests.
When Obama was trying to push the piddly healthcare reform that he managed to get through (it was more watered down than a drink at your local gay bar), GOP cheerleaders like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann stoked Neanderthal fears into the populace of a looming, scary government intent on controlling your every move (never mind that the GOP was only too happy to strip away civil liberties, put together the PATRIOT Act, tell women what to do with their bodies, tell us what books kids should read and keep gays from marrying each other). Palin also unfortunately popularized the “death panel” buzz word that got people thinking Obama was going to kill grandma.
I’d love to blame the GOP for our failure to keep with every civilized nation in the world and provide healthcare to everyone, but the Dems are just as much to blame for it as the GOP. When they’re not being turncoats and actually joining in with the insurance companies (yes, Hillary, I’m looking at you), they appear woefully unprepared to defend the idea of universal healthcare with any note of conviction. Obama allowed for the GOP and the Tea Party to create the national discourse on healthcare and then he gingerly dipped his toe in when it was too late – he comes off as weak and indecisive and the GOP look more proactive than the president. Am I being harsh? Maybe, but that’s only because I like the president and believe he knows better than to carry on the way that he’s done.
So when even the president of the United States can’t seem to mount a decent defense of healthcare how can we be surprised when the knuckle-dragging GOPpers and Tea Partiers cheer at the idea of letting a terminally ill man die because he doesn’t have health insurance.
And regarding gays in the military? Well, the GOP has coordinated a full-out assault on the LGBT community and the general population either a) agree or b) are indifferent. Again, it doesn’t help that we have a liberal party that doesn’t seem all that liberal at times and it’s worse when idiot LGBT GOPpers say that LGBT rights are worth ignoring when looking at the imagined “virtues” of conservative politics.
Obama’s own snail-like progression toward LGBT rights is an indication that even a “fierce” leader (you have to say this and snap your fingers sassily) has issues with fully embracing the LGBT community. He claims a perpetual “evolution” toward full gay marriage rights – funny when you’re on the right of Dick Cheney on any issue, that should give you a gi-normous moment to pause. So is it any wonder that our enemies openly jeer us, when one of our friends, who just happens to be the most powerful man on the planet, is so timid in his support.
So, while Obama’s line of “not reflective of who we are” sounds great – it’s an aspirational quote. For now, Mr. President, it’s exactly who we are…