Friday, August 14, 2009

Birthers and Health Care

There seems to be a connection between the Birther movement and the anti-health care reform town hall crazy movement. For those who don't know, the birther movement is for those who do not believe that Barack Obama is president of the US because either a) he was not born in the US but some other country possibly Kenya or b) he was born in Hawaii but is not actually a "natural born citizen" as the Constitution requires. Those in camp b) have a somewhat firmer grasp on reality than those in a) who would need to insist that the certificate of live birth, the birth certificate, the announcements in two Hawaiian newspapers at that time, and the current Hawaiian health officials who keep saying over and over again that yes we are staring right at his birth certificate could you please stop bothering us we have real work to do are lying. Those in camp b) are simply trying to make the case that the constitution has some explicit definition of natural born citizen beyond simply being born in the US and thus having citizenship that must be written with some sort of lemon juice and can only be seen if held up to flickering flame.

On either side of this movement are those who think themselves moderate who proclaim, "If only he would produce his birth certificate all of this would go away," while closing their eyes and putting their fingers in their ears whenever someone does just that (Lou Dobbs and Chuck Norris I'm looking at you).

It takes a real knack for not caring what facts are to be able to hold this viewpoint. And that leads us to the connection with the health care reform town hall crazies. One of the biggest claims to take hold for those who are against any health care reform or public option is that you will have to stand, especially the elderly, and defend your worth to a death panel so that you can continue to live. That this reform is really a smokescreen to kill off the elderly. Sarah Palin said, "The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."

Of course there is no such thing as a 'death panel' being proposed or even considered because Palin is right, it would be evil. Nothing like this is being offered and the closest thing to it is a provision that would encourage people to make living wills by offering to compensate doctors for having that discussion with you. But, since we are dealing with the same people that think Obama is not a citizen and therefore not president it is easy to see why such a fact free position can take hold. It is almost as if (and I don't believe this to actually be true) the anti-health care folks were testing the water with the Birther movement to see what they could actually get away with that people would start to believe and repeat. "If they were gullible enough to buy the Obama was born in Kenya, then they will certainly believe that Obama is going to set up death panel's where you have to defend your right to live, hehehe."

Yet, even if there is no such conspiracy (and again I don't believe there is one or anything more than throwing everything at the wall and seeing what will stick) there still is a connection in the utter disregard for facts in both cases and that is unacceptable.

On a side note, I think "death panel" would make an awesome name for a band.

The Rational Moderate