BY EDWIN E. VINEYARD
The last contribution of the Militant Moderate was entitled “Unruly Mobs Chill Democracy.” The truth of that one has been borne out in the days since it appeared. Disruptive mobs have continued to silence attempts at town meeting discussions scheduled by democratic congresspersons.
Disorderly conduct, rudeness, bullying, and threatening tactics are always wrong, no matter the actors. Some of these efforts to hold meetings have degenerated into brawls bordering on violence. Some in Congress have received death threats. Wrong is wrong.
When there was disorder in the early Christian churches, caused by individuals exercising at will their claimed God-given or inspired talents, the Apostle Paul wrote, “God is not the author of confusion.” Some have interpreted that as “God is not the author of chaos.” Further, one cannot find in our history where disorderly meetings with everybody shouting at once were ever praised as the American way of conducting public affairs.
Interesting enough, it is an element within that political party which has constantly touted itself publicly for its Christian values and its super-patriotism which is causing these disruptions of an orderly process of information, questioning, and answering about an important issue in our democracy. Along with the recent sex scandals among their super-pure, this hooliganism is another behavior short of their own shining self-image.
This rowdy group does not come to the public forum to learn and exchange information about the health care proposals in Congress. They come with minds made up how bad it is, replete with bizarre ideas. Just where did they get all that conclusive knowledge and misinformation?
The Militant Moderate served on the board of directors for a health insurance company for nine years, the last seven as an officer and chairman. He served 15 years as chairman of an insurance purchasing cooperative buying health insurance for more than a dozen colleges and universities.
With that considerable background, the Militant Moderate is not sure that he yet knows or understands all the different proposals being floated in Congress. How did these hooligans get their great knowledge?
They heard it from their party leader, Rush Limbaugh, on talk radio, and from people like Glenn Beck and others on Fox News channel. Why do we say that? Because after Rush Limbaugh says that President Obama is a Nazi, they show up with Nazi signs for their confrontations. If Rush says that Obama will save Medicare cost by euthanizing senior citizens, then they shout those accusations. They are unruly, potentially violent ditto-heads.
While these unruly disruptions of democratic political processes may or may not be orchestrated by the party itself, neither are they denounced. It is quite evident that they are coached and bankrolled by certain party supporters.
A leading political pusher is Rick Scott, now the director of an organization called Conservatives for Patients’ Rights. It provides a meeting schedule and strategies on its website. Scott was head of Hospital Corporation of America until that company went defunct in the rounds of a $1.9 billion fine for Medicare fraud. Since then he has been in various corporate and lobbying efforts. Is this the kind of guy you’d trust for your information?
Who is the lead man of the infamous Americans for Prosperity, an anti-tax movement coordinating “tea parties” and other anti-government demonstrations? Who bankrolls the coordinative work of this political group that inflames hostility of Americans against their own government? This person is none other than Fred Koch, head of Koch Industries, the largest privately held oil company in the nation. Koch is also the 19th richest man in the world.
What does a man like Koch have in common with the average citizen in studying taxes and deciding who pays? How is his company viewed by royalty owners all over northwestern Oklahoma? Some say they must hassle his company constantly and watch to prevent cheating. Koch lost a court fight not too long ago involving business practices.
Why does Koch want to defeat health care for the people? It seems simple – avoiding taxes. And, that must be why he bankrolls an anti-tax group.
Sarah Palin has chimed in with support for these radicals on her website with the observation that she does not want to see her elderly aunt or her Down syndrome child hauled in before “Obama’s bureaucrat death panels” to judge whether they are worthy of keeping alive. She has again demonstrated her ignorance of public affairs, in this case the health care legislative proposals.
But here again, look at the signs these disorderly people carry, and listen to their strident, emotional shouts. Some of these have reference to being threatened by government euthanasia. Who in their right mind would even think that there would be any such thing in the bill?
People like Limbaugh and Palin have deliberately distorted one innocuous provision which allows doctors to be paid for counseling patients who want help with making out their living wills. Doctors do that already, but Medicare does not now allow payment for that service.
Most people are smart enough to understand that provision if informed, but Limbaugh and others like Beck and Palin deliberately mislead people, work up their emotions, and have them disrupting meetings for political gain. The movement is bankrolled by organizations with special interest money.
And, there you have it. These unruly mobs of misinformed, but outraged citizens are being used as pawns in a political and financial battle.
– Dr. Edwin E. Vineyard, AKA The Militant Moderate, lives in Enid, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer