Health Care: Dividing and Conquering The Barbarians At The Gates

Barbarian Peanut by CHS.

What has struck me forcefully about the so-called "health care debate" is how little actual issues debate there has been.  And how much orchestrated noise from paid operatives has been ginned up to distract the public from the real prize: real reforms.

Bill Moyers has a profile up on Dick Armey’s Freedomworks astroturf extravaganza that needs viewing far and wide.

It illustrates a fundamental political operative truth: sowing dissent, even based on outright falsehoods, is a means to an end in a public divide and conquer strategy.  Something folks like Armey use to their moneyed clients’ advantage whenever possible because it is the way they earn their multi-million dollar Beltway living.

How so?

Think about the interests involved and their objectives for a moment: maintaining the status quo in health care means that the people making the money continue to rake it in, which means they can continue to dole it out on the Hill. People like Armey bring access on the Hill to the halls of power and that translates into valuable legislative inroads, for which moneyed interests pay handsomely.

In exchange for said donor largesse, keeping the angry public — who are clearly well and truly tired of feeling screwed these days — on the fringes of the discussion had to be a strategic priority.

The best means of doing that? Sow dissent that keeps the public’s eyes off the real ball, thereby throwing any chance at unity of purpose among the public out the window.

Why?  Because a unified public pushing for reform is what drives any substantive change this country ever sees.  It’s what gave FDR the ability to push through New Deal legislation and Wall Street regulations.  It’s what eventually forced an end to the Vietnam War.  It’s the engine that has driven major changes through our entire history.

And the forces of the status quo know that, fear it, and undermine it at every turn. 

Status quo means profit.  Change means instability which makes things tough to control or outright loss of profit, and that is not acceptable, now is it?

Whose interest is served by maintaining the status quo? Not the general public, especially not the folks who are already on the verge of losing insurance or who have none at all.

So how do you herd the sheeple? Scare the shit out of them, stoke their inner fears and prejudices, and exploit already rampant political divisions and hatred so that no one bothers to sit down and think, really think, about how the public’s common interests are decidedly not being served at the moment. 

And then? Divide up the K Street spoils while the riffraff scrape together money for higher premiums and fewer services and wonder where all their money is going these days.

It’s enough to make an already cynical gal even more so.

Strolling around the DNC in Denver last Fall, the thing that struck me most was how much money was seeping into every nook and cranny of politics. Big donors to the party had to stand in line with the rest of us schlubs to go through Secret Service security protocols, so I got my fair share of face time with folks in Gucci wedge peep-toes, DVF wrap dresses and Brooks Brothers suits while we all stood sweating in the Denver sunshine.  Albeit face time that resulted in a conversation that went nowhere because I was neither buyable nor pliant, and thus of no use to them.

When we entered the building, there were "hospitality suites" everywhere, including a big donor reception area right behind the blogger box with an endless string of electeds and their fundraising handlers coming over to shake moneyed hands behind curtained windows. (Clearly not curtained enough.)

As a certified card-carrying foul-mouthed fem blogger member of the riff raff, I wasn’t expecting surprises since politics has pretty much always operated in backroom deals and moneyed hands exchange pleasantries. But it was more meticulously organized and lavishly staged beyond even what my cynical self expected.

I am told by attendees of the GOP convention that it was the same and then some, with boxes sponsored outright by corporate largesse.  How could it not be given that Rick Davis and Charlie Black were helming the McCain campaign?

Politics in this country has always been a function of money changing hands, and big interests pitting their fundage and power against the voices of the public pushing back. 

The difference these days?  The public is a divided force pushing back against itself, being herded around by moneyed interests in opposing directions in order to maintain the way things are.

Talk radio and angry teevee yelling shows?  Bread and circuses.  Distraction keeps your eye off the ball, and venom keeps us divided which is right where they want us to be.

What to do?  Damned if I know. 

If the health care issue is so easily gamed, when so many people are impacted by a lack of real health care each year in this country?  Then there may be no real unifying issue out there for any of us. 

The public’s interest is best served when we all stand together and force change.  Anyone see that happening any time soon?

 
15 Responses to "Health Care: Dividing and Conquering The Barbarians At The Gates"
demi | Friday September 18, 2009 05:45 am 1

Hope you had a good day off, Christy.
And, the answer to the last question is No.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday September 18, 2009 05:59 am 2
In response to demi @ 1

Morning — I wouldn’t say it was a good day, but it was a much needed one. Having some lupus issues again…so what else is new? *g*


klynn | Friday September 18, 2009 06:05 am 3

Hope you had a good day yesterday.

Jay Rockefeller had his eye on the ball when he was interviewed by the Ed show. Did you see it?

Found this part of your post interesting:

But it was more meticulously organized and lavishly staged beyond even what my cynical self expected.

I am told by attendees of the GOP convention that it was the same and then some, with boxes sponsored outright by corporate largesse. How could it not be given that Rick Davis and Charlie Black were helming the McCain campaign?

Politics in this country has always been a function of money changing hands, and big interests pitting their fundage and power against the voices of the public pushing back.

The difference these days? The public is a divided force pushing back against itself, being herded around by moneyed interests in opposing directions in order to maintain the way things are.

In reality, I do not think the public is as divided as the media makes it out to be (and that would be the illusion the corp $$ is creating). And that is the key. The media is creating the illusion of the country being divided. And those spewing, screaming are doing so because they know they are not on the side of the majority but they want to appear as such or at least create the appearance that we are divided. We have somehow created this false equivalency that TV time/front page photo ops equal “majority” voice every time. And it is not true in every case. But the more media sensationalizes the coverage of extremism, the more that “of the majority” messaging gets played.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday September 18, 2009 06:13 am 4
In response to klynn @ 3

It’s an issue that hits Jay where he’s worked in his early years. He was a VISTA volunteer here in WV back in the 60s, and he’s seen the results of poverty and a lack of care on kids here in WV up close and personal as a result of that.

When he was governor here, health care and education were two huge issues for him, so it’s not a surprise. It’s nice to see that Jay on the public stage, actually. :)


Pade | Friday September 18, 2009 06:16 am 5

Christy,

Sorry about your issues. I recommend reading Diana Schwarzbein’s book – I think it is called “The Schwarzbein Principle”- she is an endocrinologist and this is the most sensible book about giving your body the proper nutrition to repair it from the usual building and using cycle we all go through. As a retired health and physical education teacher I have read a lot of books in this vein over the years and this is by far the best and most sensible and logical. She talks about the chemical reactions the body has to different foods and how to have things work in the most efficient way. She has written a second book further explaining how body chemistry works and then a third about the program. I am half way through the second and have skimmed the third. There is even a cookbook.

It is a very exiting program. She says it will never be extremely popular because it works over time and isn’t a quick fix. She believes that the body must first be put into the appropriate balance and then it will correct itself. Since the damage has been done over time it will also take time to repair.

I think it would be of help to you


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday September 18, 2009 06:23 am 6
In response to Pade @ 5

I will check that out, thanks. Am trying to do lots of antioxidants — fruits, veggies, especially green leafies — and whole foods as much as possible at the moment. And lots and lots of water.


Pade | Friday September 18, 2009 06:51 am 7
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 6

You are welcome. She says the body needs something in the protein, fat, non starchy veg, and carbohydrates at each meal. Also lots of water is a good thing. Two snacks per day also. Good things like nuts. Real fat is very important to rebuild the body. It is a very logical and sensible program. I got into it by accident – having to go to my homeopathic dentist and have a tooth pulled and needing something to read till Blanche let me drive home. Started reading – borrowed the book – and then bought everything she wrote. I have also gotten books for friends. I think you will learn a lot and enjoy the info. I know you are getting the Peanut into eating the good things and how neat to be able to raise a child on this sensible program.

Got to go to rehab – the hip is improving after being set back by the local PT place. I now go down to the PT associated with my surgeon. Big improvement – today to the pool.


cbl2 | Friday September 18, 2009 06:59 am 8

Good Morning Christy and Firedogs,

But it was more meticulously organized and lavishly staged beyond even what my cynical self expected

y’all’s reporting was so good. going in, like you, I thought I understood the depth and scope – your dispatches from Denver proved me wrong

love that lil barbarian pic – warrior in training :D


demi | Friday September 18, 2009 07:05 am 9

PS, I forgot to mention how adorable that shot of your Peanut is. Kind of reminds me of that neighbor on Home Improvement.


oldgold | Friday September 18, 2009 07:13 am 10

At first I thought it was a photo of NorskeFlamethrower as a child.


Christy Hardin Smith | Friday September 18, 2009 07:19 am 11
In response to cbl2 @ 8

I love that picture. Cracks me up every time I see it. LOL


demi | Friday September 18, 2009 07:24 am 12
In response to oldgold @ 10

Ha ha. There’s prolly no FDLer who didn’t think of him when looking at the pic.


oldgold | Friday September 18, 2009 07:39 am 13

What has struck me forcefully about the so-called “health care debate” is how little actual issues debate there has been. And how much orchestrated noise from paid operatives has been ginned up to distract the public from the real prize: real reforms.

Yes! Lots of noise, sloganeering and fear mongering, but not much civil, thoughtful and pushing the envelope discussion.

At times like this, when Congress is in the throws of yet another episode of sordid craziness, I am always reminded of the lyrics of Send in the Clowns.

Don’t you love farce?
Our fault, I fear.
I thought that you’d want what I want…
Sorry, my dear!
But where are the clowns
Send in the clowns
Don’t bother, they’re here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnwJ5KIcKX4


tejanarusa | Friday September 18, 2009 11:25 am 14

Will have to watch the video at home – is this different from what will be on Moyers’ Journal tonight?
He is really the only consistent truthful voice on this issue on tv, even above Rachel and Keith, who are stuck with “Let’s Play Oddball” and creeps for guests like Pat Buchanan. Moyers brings on Wendell Potter for full shows – though, absolutely, props to Keith for having him on last night (? Wed?).

Hope your health issues aren’t making you feel less optimistic about politics, and that they will be brief.


MrWhy | Friday September 18, 2009 11:30 am 15

I keep thinking we need to remind the pols of people close to them who could have benefited from a good public health care system. For Barack Obama, I think in particular of his mother and his father-in-law. But it could be someone from his community organizing years. You mention Jay Rockefeller’s VISTA experience. That’s the sort of connection I mean.

So identify people in the lives of the Congressmen/women & Senators whose arms need twisting, and then ask the pols, would this proposed legislation be a burden or a benefit to your brother/sister/friend/neighbor/husband/wife/mother/father/etc?

If we’re using examples they can easily dissociate themselves from, they can maintain their blindness. If we use examples they have a visceral connection with, they can walk away, but they won’t likely forget. Their conscience can work on them.

I know it’s a lot of work, likely an impossible task, but there are millions of examples out there. Cancer, cleft lip, amputations, MS, CF, Parkinson’s, ad infinitum. What is Michael J. Fox up to these days?


Sorry but the comments are closed on this post

Close