MIKE SOLA…. It was a painful clip that quickly made the rounds. At a town-hall event hosted by Rep. John Dingell (D) in Michigan, a local man named Mike Sola brought his wheelchair-bound son to confront, and scream at, the long-time lawmaker. He was eventually escorted from the event by police.

Yesterday, Sola appeared on Fox News, arguing that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent “thugs” to his house “in the middle of the night.” He added that he’s prepared to use “lethal force” against “the person” in the future, before arguing that health care reform would “sentence our families to death” because “old people” would be “discarded.”

It was very sad to watch. Sola’s son has cerebral palsy, and their family has experienced difficulties that I can scarcely imagine. It’s not surprising that he and his family would want to know how health care reform would affect their lives.

But the poor man has been fed so many lies, he apparently doesn’t realize what he’s saying. Mike Sola, who I suspect is entirely sincere, actually believes that Democratic proposals would kill the elderly and the disabled. He seems to have no idea that his beliefs are not in any way grounded in reality.

As Josh Marshall noted last night, “[L]et’s all collectively throw a little cold water on our faces and just realize that this is some really crazy stuff. The health care debate is now being driven by a perverse nonsense feedback loop in which the Palin/Limbaugh crowd says all sorts of completely insane lies, gets a lot of … how shall we put it, impressionable people totally jacked up over a bunch of complete nonsense, and then Fox brings one of them, Mike Sola, on the air to basically lose his mind on camera. And then Mike becomes evidence of popular fear, terror, outrage at the president’s plan. Which becomes more grist.”

It’s no way for a mature, functioning democracy to operate. If professional liars can beat back popular and necessary governmental changes, simply by conning confused people into believing truly insane nonsense, it’s evidence of a political system coming undone.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.