Imagine, for a moment, an organization that sought to deprive millions of people of access to medical treatment. An organization that did all within its considerable power to remove policies that ensured access to clean air and clean water. An organization that took the side of arms manufacturers who wanted no restrictions on the ability of people to purchase their weapons of street warfare. An organization that used media power to convince people that wrong is right, that black is white, that up is down, that ugly is cute. An organization that tacitly supported government officials abusing citizens. An organization that believed billionaires were an oppressed minority, and strove to concentrate wealth in their hands as the masses starved.
What words would you use to describe such an organization?
Those words must be the ones you use to describe the Republican Party.
The sickness of the GOP’s failed (for now?) effort to bury the Affordable Care Act says it all. This party has, in effect, declared war on every American not wealthy enough to afford his or her medical treatment. This party wishes to condemn those Americans to death, all the while professing to be “pro-life.”
This is unlimited moral perfidy. This is the mentality of someone who sees a man begging for bread in the street and laughs, before praising the one-percenter sitting down to a five-course meal in the fanciest restaurant nearby.
What drives this sort of hate? Simple. It’s cultural. The Republican mind is indoctrinated to view anyone who is not rich, white, Christian and straight as “less than.” Less than deserving of equal treatment under the law. Less than deserving of good schools, good health care, good jobs. Less than human.
When this mentality is your reality, taking away health care becomes a moral crusade. After all, only God’s chosen deserve to see a doctor.
This is blood-curdling madness–the sort of madness that won’t end even after Trump is out of the White House. To the rational mind, this is sick. To the Republican mind, this is the way things ought to be (that phrase wasn’t selected as the title of Rush Limbaugh’s 1992 book at random).
What would have happened if a lack of access to health care sent more and more Americans to an early grave in a post-Affordable Care Act world? Republicans would not have shed one tear. In their minds, those folks would have had the honor and privilege of seeing Jesus early.
My cynicism about America’s willingness to embrace Medicare for all is as unlimited as the Republican Party’s contempt for the non-wealthy, precisely because of the Republican Party’s contempt for the non-wealthy. Why do you think California Governor Jerry Brown is skittish about the prospects of single payer in the Golden State? He obviously fears, not without reason, that implementing single payer would resurrect the Republican Party in that state: Brown knows that all Republicans and their billionaire allies have to do is flood the airwaves with images of rioters in South Central Los Angeles and undocumented immigrants in East Los Angeles getting “health care paid for with your hard-earned tax dollars,” and California Democrats might face the wrath of the selfish at the ballot box. (Brown is a student of history, and knows that with just the right amount of media manipulation, Californians can be induced to vote anti-progressive; after all, Proposition 209 and Proposition 8 weren’t that long ago.)
Now more than ever, it’s clear that what is good for the Republican Party is bad for America, and vice versa. Now more than ever, it’s clear that the GOP constitutes an existential threat to public health. The party is a menace in our midst, seeking every second to turn America the Beautiful into America the Brutalized.