Thursday, February 4, 2010

If Ignorance Is Bliss There Are Some Very Happy Folks in America

My friend Jack (Self-Sufficient Steward) posed some questions to me that I've been mulling over for a bit:

What would happen if Senate Democrats MADE the Republicans actually use the filibuster to kill a decent health care bill? (Perhaps a bill without the pork, but with a public option.) How would the country respond if they saw the Republicans reading the phone book day after day to kill health care reform?
I don't think that it would matter. I think that the people who support health care reform would continue to do so and become even more disgusted with the Republican party, and those who oppose health care reform would continue to express their opposition and cheer the Republicans on for protecting them from Obama's plans for advancing socialism.

I wasn't certain of my answer when I read Jack's questions a week ago, but yesterday I read the results of a recent poll that confirmed what I have suspected for some time--how do I say this in a civil fashion--there are a lot of people who can't think their way out of a paper bag. The reality of the Republicans carrying on a marathon filibuster to prevent health care reform should offend the sensibilities of the American public but I don't think that those already opposed to health care reform would find it offensive. On the contrary, I think that they would applaud the Republicans.

The poll was commissioned by Daily Kos and conducted by non-partisan independent pollster Research 2000 and included 2,000 people who identified themselves as Republican. Believe it or not, I actually have friends who are Republicans (okay only two that I can think of) and I don't consider one's choice of political party affiliation to be a sign of ignorance. I accept that my view of the role of government differs considerably from the view of government traditionally espoused by the Republican party. However, responses to this poll reveals a level of paranoid belief in utter nonsense that cannot be challenged by logic because anyone who believes this idiocy is immune to logic and truth.

The subtext to all of the opposition by some members of the public to any health care reform is a belief that undeserving people will gain benefits at the expense of hard working Americans. Who are these undeserving people? Well in the minds of the tea party followers they are non-white or in the U.S. illegally or don't speak English, or triple whammy--all three! The anti-health reform folks never imagine the people needing help looking just like them even though the reality is that it's not only minorities who need an improved health care system.

I don't think that Americans who do not already support health care reform will be offended in the least by watching the Republicans publicly demonstrate their commitment to blocking health care reform by filibustering. Instead, they will applaud their champions. I am reminded of a line from a poem by Erica Jong, "The best slave doesn't need to be beaten; she beats herself." Jong was writing of women cooperating in their own oppression, but it is applicable to the health  care reform mess as well. The majority of people working so avidly against health care reform are themselves vulnerable to the capricious whims of the health insurance industry, nonetheless they choose to reject reform as a socialist plot cooked up by President Obama to destroy the country, filling message boards with cries of, "Stop Obama care!"

Dont't take my word for it. Decide for yourself, but first read some highlights from the Daily Kos poll:

63% of Republicans believe Obama is a socialist while 21% disagree and 16% are not sure.

42% believe Obama was born in the U.S. while 36% do not, with 22% undecided. 

53% believe Sarah Palin is more qualified to be president than Obama while 14% do not and 33% are undecided. (I'm betting they also believe that the world is flat.)

31% believe that Obama is a racist and hates white people, while 36% say he is not a racist and 33% are undecided. (Clearly these people haven't been victims of racism long enough. I've never been undecided as to whether or not someone was a racist.)

24% say they believe Obama wants terrorists to win while 43% say Obama does not want terrorists to win, and 33% are undecided.

Not surprisingly, given that they believe Obama to be a foreign born, terrorism supporting, racist purveyor of socialism, 39% say Obama should be impeached; 32% disagree and 29% are undecided.

All of the questions were not about Obama:

67% say the only way for an individual to go to heaven is through Jesus Christ while 15% say it is possible through another faith, and 18% are undecided. (For some reason it gives these good Christian folks a real charge to think of others burning in hellfire.)

91% support the death penalty, 4% do not, and 5% aren't sure. (It's the undecided folks that really bug me. It's either yes or no, make up your mind!)

68% oppose Congress making it easier for workers to form and join labor unions, 7% favor it and 25% are undecided. (Now that corporations are persons, if they treat their workers unfairly, we can send the corporations to therapy to learn how to deal with their issues.)

For more results from the poll, check out Daily Kos. To read an interesting analysis of the poll results click here.


Sarcastic Bastard said...

Jesus, those poll results are frightening. Living in the Midwest, I can believe those numbers might be fairly accurate, too.

Love you, Sheria. Have a good week and don't work too damn hard.


Lynn said...

I agree with almost everything you said but I am a little disturbed that the undecided people bug you. It's true, I'm sure, that many people are undecided because they simply don't want to think about it but there are also some for whom these questions pose a real moral dilemma.

Alan said...

Lucky the folks from my town cant read so they didn't answer the poll. Would have really tipped scale over the edge. Interestingly, they are the people who would most benifit from healthcare reform, and other social programs. I'm sure they will all be happy in heaven watching me burn.

If I thought there was a chance that the government was capable of real reform (something that dealt with HEALTH and CARE) I'd be concerned. But, the system is very resistant to real change. So, it's just so much blather.

Sybil said...

These polls truly are awful..I can hardly believe that such a majority can claim to be caring loving people. Poor USA poor Obama.. God help you all.

I think I said a long time ago that my sister has travelled the world with an interest in child care etc. and she said although she was naturally and expectedly shocked at the poverty etc in India know here did it upset her more than the poverty in the back yards of the USA..I think it was because it was not something that we had ever thought was happening..So I suppose it must be the same for the people without eyes to see, in your own country.
Love Sybil xx

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

It is frightening how uninformed our country has become. We seem to be so "me" focused that there is no room for anything else. Perhaps, with patient persistance, we can drag this country back to sticking up for the underdog. We do it for sports, how about real life!

Nance said...

I'm relieved that the Polled aren't ignorant...just guilty of "a level of paranoid belief in utter nonsense that cannot be challenged by logic because anyone who believes this idiocy is immune to logic and truth." Whew! Makes ordinary ol' ignunce look good, doesn't it?

Mark said...

There is a hugely important number that puts this poll in context. Only 30% of registered voters are now Republican. Ergo 50% of them (for example those who belive Sarah Palin is more qualified to be President that B.O.) equals 15% of the electorate.
It's really not news that a hardcore 20% of adult Americans are far right. They're the ones who never abandoned Bush, worship Beck and Limbaugh, etc. I don't know that that proportion of the electorate is increasing, just that they keep getting louder.
I am far more concerned about the soft center, which, after all, did swing toward Obama a mere 14 months ago. They were not reflected in this poll, and I think they would absolutely be influenced by the spectacle of the Republicans actually filibustering. Obama should call the Republican bluff. He has little to lose and everything to gain.

jack-of-all-thumbs said...

I agree with Mark, chapter and verse. It is the uninformed "center" which is embarrassingly ignorant, but malleable. Were they to see the Republicans intransigence on their TV screen they might be roused to anger (on the right side for a change).

Apologies for the late post. I haven't even seen my own blog for two weeks - dang day job!

Doug Alder said...

As a Canuck all I can say is may whatever deity you believe in have mercy on your country. That is so depressing