I’d already planned on making today’s Democrat-Gazette the first from which I hoped to pull the worst letter (as judged by me) and write a post about it. Little did I know that today’s paper would be a veritable cornucopia of right-wing, reactionary, racist nonsense. It was actually hard to decide which letter was the worst.
Should I choose the one that managed to lump Hitler, Mussolini, 9/11, Islam, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong Il, and the Mexican assault on the Alamo together (and denounced all under the guise of Christitanity)?
In the end, I went with one that managed, in two paragraphs, to display an ignorance of various political ideologies, the healthcare reform bill, grammar and syntax, federalism, and logic in general. Today’s winner, Norman Harvey of Cherokee Village, Arkansas, writes:
Obamacare? Forced insurance and fines to ordinary citizens? This is not socialism. This will be communism. One sick spell and most of us will lose our home.
All our state governments should tell the feds to go to hell and leave our people alone. No forced anything is more like democracy, so stand up, folks, before [Barack Obama] and his Congress will put us all in cardboard boxes.
No, really … WOW. I didn’t think it was possible to display such a wide variety of ignorance in fewer than 70 words. The first paragraph is a decent summation of the last year of Glenn Beck’s loghorreic stupidity. It also demonstrates that the author (shockingly!) has no idea what socialism and communism actually are.
Very briefly, socialism is an econo-political theory that aims for public ownership and management of both the production and allocation of goods, services, and resources. Communism, on the other hand, is a theory that aspires to a society with distinctions of class or status wherein decisions are made in the best interests of the collective group, with no person or group’s desires or wants having more weight in the decision-making than another. (That communism as a reality fails to meet this aspiration is a different story for a different day.)
Among many other things, the removal of the public option and the single-payer system, the continued influence of and cowtowing to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries, and the lack of a requirement that all insurance programs be exactly the same and cover exactly the same treatments mean that the healthcare reform bill embodies neither socialism nor communism. In fact, a very strong argument can be made that it was a very Republican bill, not the least of which because it was broadly authored by the Heritage Foundation. Though, to know that, one would have to actually think about things rather than gobbling down the Beckian pablum that Fox News spoonfeeds its viewers nightly.
The second paragraph of Mr. Harvey’s letter fares no better under the glaring light of reality. Even in the context of healthcare reform (rather than in the overly broad terms Harvey uses), it is absurd to think that the states could tell the federal government that they (the states) were not going to implement laws that were as-of-this-writing constitutional exercises of federal power. Conversely, if the health care reform bill or portions of it were held to be unconstitutional, it is absurd to think that the federal government could attempt to force the states to implement the illegal provisions.
Finally, the second part of the second paragraph ties into the last part of the first paragraph, all of which is Mr. Harvey’s assertion that, under “Obamacare,” getting sick will result in the government taking your home and forcing you to live on the street. I simply cannot fathom how this is even remotely sane.
To submit your own letter to the editor and give the Democrat-Gazette something else to publish, please click here.