Now is the time for polemics. The right is launching a relentless attack on our government’s movement towards a universal health care policy. Whether they’re calling it “socialism” (which it ain’t), “government tyranny” (which it ain’t) or, as NPR reported recently, whether the Tea Party movement is reacting against the “niggers” and “faggots” who work at the Capitol.
So let me be polemical too.
1. Republicans, you do not represent America. You claim that your protests represent the will of the people, but where were these people when the last round of elections went off? You lost the presidency and congress, how far back in the denial closet have you gone to call yourself “the party of the people”?
I know very few people who don’t support this bill. Practically every friend I have, my family, my veteran grandparents, my Catholic church, my co-workers. Our voices all stand behind this bill. We voted for representatives who pushed for it, we wrote our leaders, we opined frequently in the media and elsewhere.
2. Your claims that this bill violates your liberty is b.s. Where in the Bill of Rights do you draw your reactionary claims? What legal precedent?
And where were you when the Patriot Act was passed?
“Liberty” is a principle, not a flag you can wave. We’ve stood agape as you repeatedly violate the principle of individual rights against government intrusion in the name of security, against gays and lesbians, and egalitarian programs.
3. Your outrage can’t stop a fundamental and democratic change in America. This new step in the universality of health care reflects an ideological shift that is as American as it is necessary under social conditions.
America has long “socialized” itself, to use your words, in the name of equal rights. We can look for precedent in recent changes in the public takeover of education. Society and government have repeatedly affirmed that in the name of democratic equality education be provided as a fundamental right for all Americans.
Likewise, the populist movement toward universal health care is based on the idea that every American ought to have access to security of their health as a fundamental right. We deny the conservative belief that access to health care should exist only for those with a certain degree of wealth. We defy the sociological fact that lower-class Americans, under a free market system, have faced great instability, bankruptcy, familial chaos due to exclusion from markets.
Under contemporary and universal concepts of democracy the individual person/citizen is no longer protected merely from government intrusion, but also protected from the inequalities that arise from the private sector. Public education, anti-discriminatory measures, Medicaid, the right to organize unions… health care is just another step in a long trend of measures to curb the anti-democratic nature of a free market economy.