Sunday, April 18, 2010

"The Rage is Not About Health Care" (nor taxes)

A few weeks ago, New York Times columnist wrote an interesting opinion piece "The Rage Is Not About Health Care". For almost 3 weeks I've been mulling over commenting on the article.

Upon passage of the Health Care Reform bill, conservative heads everywhere started exploding. John Boehner's face almost turned red, if that's possible, from anger. Tea Partier's spat hateful comments at Congressmen Lewis and Frank. References to President Obama being Hitler, Stalin, Lenin etc. continued. Bricks were thrown through office windows, a gas line cut on the house of a congressman's brother and death threats were phoned in to congressional offices. As Rich pointed out, it was a "small scale mimicry of Kristallnacht".

What exactly did Democrats do to incite this anger? They campaigned on passing health care reform legislation. They continually folded to conservative demands and modified the HCR bill until it was a mirror image of Mitt Romney's health care reform bill in Massachusetts. Hell, the individual mandate was a conservative idea!

As Rich points out, the anger over this issue is similar to that over the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I agree. But like Rich says, the rage is not about HCR. The rage started shortly after President Obama was elected. In fact, there was plenty of rage against candidate Obama at Palin rallies well before he was elected.

Here is a key sentence in Rich's column.
The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House - topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman - would sow fears of disenfranchisment among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play.
Rich points out that these are the people Tea Partier's want to "take our country back" from.

Is this racism, sexism, bigotry? I don't know. But the white anglosaxon protestant needs to realize that the demographics of the US is changing. Most young people are no longer racist or intolerant. The mostly white and republican Tea Party members need to understand that they are rapidly becoming a minority group, at least by race.

Rich also pointed out something I didn't know.
The Republicans haven't had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have only had three in total since 1935 (my emphasis)
No, the rage is not about health care, or taxes, or spending. It's about the fear of becoming a minority. It's about race.

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