It is nearly impossible to imagine any American who does not appreciate the concept of freedom, and without a doubt, Americans are as free as any society within the constraints of an ordered society governed by laws. One simple way to enrage Americans, and incite them to violence, is to threaten their freedom, and an escalating trend among Republicans is instigating outrage in the population with overt assertions that President Obama threatens Americans’ freedom. Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed by both houses of Congress, signed by the President, and declared constitutional by the nation’s highest court, an increasing number of Republicans and conservative pundits are parroting the notion that health insurance reform is an “intrusion on freedom,” and now Republicans are attempting to deny funding for the health law by targeting the Internal Revenue Service claiming it is the “new Gestapo” that is “headed in the direction of killing a lot of people.”
First, Republicans know the ACA is not an assault on freedom because they proposed a similar set of reforms in the 1990s with the Heritage Foundation devising the individual mandate that Willard Romney signed into Massachusetts’ law while he was governor. The GOP is having relative success using provocative language to play on the unfounded fears of a Socialist takeover of healthcare among Americans mortified a Black man is sitting in the Oval Office. The incendiary language is not subtle, or lost on a segment of the population that began reacting negatively to President Obama before his administration was under way. The ACA is the main impetus of Republican’s fear-mongering campaign that is as potent today as when healthcare reform first came to the nation’s attention.
In Texas, Rick Perry recently said he would not implement any of the ACA’s portions because he was going to “preserve those individuals’ freedoms,” and reject “socializing healthcare in the state of Texas.” Perry asserted “this federal government, which doesn’t like Texas to begin with – comes up with some data that says somehow Texas has the worst healthcare system in the world, and it is just fake and false on its face.” Perry is partly right, Texas may not have the worst healthcare system in the world, but it is worst in the nation, and 25% of its population lacks any healthcare coverage. Despite Texas having horrid healthcare delivery issues, it is the language Perry uses that incites suspicion and opposition to President Obama and more importantly, the federal government. Perry is hardly an isolated case.
Willard Romney is traveling the country informing supporters that the ACA is “government takeover of your healthcare” and that “Obamacare puts the federal government between you and your doctor,” even though it is nearly identical to the reform Romney championed while governor of Massachusetts. Again, it is the language Romney uses that keeps ignorant Americans from learning the ACA is not government healthcare and puts citizens on the defensive to protect their freedom to choose their own doctor and insurance carrier. Now, a Republican claims the IRS is the “new Gestapo“ to garner support for defunding implementation of the ACA.
Maine Governor Paul LePage claimed the Supreme Court’s ruling has “made America less free,” and that “we the people have been told there is no choice,” and “you must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo, the IRS.” During an interview, La Page was asked if he understood what the Gestapo did during World War II, he answered,”Yeah, they killed a lot of people,” and asked whether the IRS “was headed in the direction of killing a lot of people,” he replied,”Yeah.” It is the modus operandi of Republicans to substitute facts about the law with fear-mongering in the vein of Palin’s recent recapitulation that the ACA creates “death panels.” The misinformation and fear-mongering does not end there and Republicans have implied over and over again that good, real Americans will have to take extreme action against the federal government that has been hijacked by a liberal enemy that can only be defeated with armed resistance.
Shortly after the High Court upheld the ACA, Glenn Beck ranted that “Progressives are Fascists! They’re Fascists, and if we don’t wipe out the progressives, those people shoot people who disagree with them.” In 2010, conservatives warned their supporters that Democrats “believe in communism. They believe and have called for a revolution. You’re going to have to shoot them in the head.” In 2011, rotting corpse, Andrew Breitbart told teabaggers that Progressives “can only win a rhetorical and propaganda war. We outnumber them in this country, and we have the guns. I’m not kidding; they will not cross that line because they know what they’re dealing with.” Conservative pundits provoking violence seems to be their only means of engendering support for their cause such as Michelle Bachmann encouraging “my constituents to be armed and dangerous,” or failed Senate candidate Sharon Angle claiming “if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies,” and “the first thing we need to do is take Harry Reid out.”
On Fox News, Lou Dobbs praised two bloggers who said, “if health care reform were found to be constitutional, it would trigger a violent insurrection against government tyranny that you may call a mandate or you may call it a tax, but it still is tyranny and invites the same response.” Dobbs ended the interview encouraging them to “stay dangerous.” One might be inclined to think conservatives are only inciting opposition to a political agenda, but what they know is that their inflammatory rhetoric will provoke violence which is starting to look like their end-game, and they have had plenty of success since President Obama took office.
The great travesty is that the Republican leadership has never condemned the violent rhetoric from conservatives, and indeed, are part and parcel of the not-so-subtle warnings that the Black man in the Oval Office is a tyrant intent on taking Americans’ freedoms. Instead of publicly rebuking the traitors inciting violent insurrection against government tyranny, Republicans are encouraging fear-mongers tactics because without their lies and misinformation, they would be summarily voted out of office in the next election. Realistically, men like Romney, Boehner, McConnell, and Cantor cannot garner support based on their policies, so they do what comes natural; fear-monger, lie, claim Obama is forcing Americans into Socialism, robbing Americans of the religious liberty, and imposing healthcare takeover with support from the “new Gestapo” that will be “killing a lot of people” if they choose not to purchase health insurance.
Conservatives have had three-and-a-half years to work ignorant, and well-armed, Americans into frenzy over the lie they are losing their freedom because of health insurance reform promoted by their worst nightmare; an African American man who is a fascist, Nazi, and Socialist tyrant. It is beyond belief, but America is in jeopardy of armed insurrection and as heavily-armed conservative Christians, Mormons, and racist hate groups learn Democrats and Progressives have stolen their freedoms, they will hardly need a signal that it is time to start shooting. These are perilous times, and unless Republicans change their ways, they will bear total responsibility for America’s Second Civil War that looks more likely every day.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.