Stoking the fear - why so many Americans hate the NHS

Total Posts:  497
Joined  15-06-2006
19 August 2009 11:54

‘A National Health Service, free at the point of delivery - what’s not to like? The sight of Americans. many of them elderly, demonstrating so vehemently against the Obama administration’s healthcare reform plans in recent weeks - often on grounds lacking rhyme, reason, coherence or even common sense - has unnerved and annoyed many in Britain and caused a national groundswell of support for our NHS, for all its faults, from the prime minister downwards.

‘There are rational criticisms to be made of the US reform plans, on practical as well as political grounds, but these have been drowned out by all the sound and fury. The current insurgency falls into a distinctive, age-old pattern: both a fear of outsiders and what the historian Richard Hofstadter once described as “the paranoid style” in American politics.

‘Through American history, at least back to the Pilgrim Fathers, politicians have stoked fear of outsiders and their schemes to force change on an unwilling population. Because such subversives obviously could not do so by democratic means, the argument goes, they must be undermining the state by plotting and conspiracy.

‘If all else fails, lying helps too. They did it against the Quakers, the blacks, the Irish, the Jews, the Communists and, more recently evolutionists, feminists, gays and Muslims. Obama himself, of course, is an archetypal outsider, hence the questioning of his right to be president by some of those who lost the election last November.

‘In recent decades conservative republicans have been particularly adroit at exploiting fears, often quite cynically; does Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican senator, accusing Obama of planning “death panels” really believe it? As Michael Tomasky pointed out on the Guardian America website, Grassley himself has previously supported very similar plans, to discuss end-of-life care for elderly individuals.

‘The right’s campaign is aided by the spread of the internet, allowing scurrilous gossip to circulate unchecked and unmediated and the ubiquity of rightwing and raucous, opinionated news and comment programmes, stoking outrage and acknowledging no need for balance. Such messages can be very persuasive in a society where many have retreated into communities of the like-minded, all watching the same television, reading the same newspapers, attending the same church - not unlike the early settlers behind their stockades, barred against the outside world.’

- Stephen Bates, author of God’s Own Country: Religion and Politics in America

See here for Stephen Bates’ article ‘Why I’m so glad I broke my leg in Britain, not in America’

Total Posts:  1891
Joined  19-12-2007
19 August 2009 12:31

In the U.S., the ‘haves’ like to take sole credit for the having and assign full blame to the ‘have nots’ for not having, except where they give credit to the almighty for ‘being blessed’ to show they ‘really don’t have an air of superiority’. This is the proper ordering of our (U.S.)universe and why the debate is framed around capitalism vs socialism. Anything else is anti-American. Until, of course, the shoe is on the other foot ... then the tune changes.

Total Posts:  1589
Joined  20-10-2006
21 August 2009 23:51

Here’s an example of the dimwits fighting against public health care.

Yes, meso, it doesn’t make sense to me either except in the darkness of fear, especially a fear of the government (which in America, ironically, is us).  I’d like to see public health care funded by re-allocating half of the US military budget, then we’d still be ahead of the rest of the world in spending on both.  It’s sick the US spends more to kill foreigners than to take care of the health of its own people.