Lunatics and retards

>> Friday, August 14, 2009

I should probably be on Twitter. As I was riding into work, I found myself pondering the present situation in D.C., and the apparent belief on the part of certain parties that there should be cooperation on healthcare--Democrats should compromise and Republicans should have their way (to paraphrase a Kids In The Hall line). And I thought, "Y'know, I really don't see the margin in trying to negotiate with lunatics and retards." And I thought that would possibly be a witty thing to "tweet," although I was driving and couldn't have tweeted it even if I had an account.

That statement isn't too precise, of course; it should probably be "lunatics, retards and opportunists," since I'm not sure that some of the people who are siding with the lunatics and retards actually believe that President Obama is Kenyan or that the healthcare plan will require "death panels" or whatever. Sarah Palin might--but I think we already covered lunatics and retards, and Ms. Palin is probably comfortable with both camps (in a Venn diagram, one suspects she's at the center of the overlap consisting of insane retarded opportunists, actually). But most of the people in Congress who refuse to admit they believe the President is an American citizen are probably merely people who have grabbed the tiger's tail in the mistaken belief it will drag them someplace other than its lair for consumption at leisure by the tiger and her children.

That's not to say there isn't room for principled opposition to national healthcare in whatever form, or to the healthcare plan that's being proposed--being somebody who thinks national healthcare's probably a good idea, I'd have to fault current proposals for not going far enough. But claiming that Obama is trying to murder your grandmother really isn't principled opposition, now is it? It's simply a lie.

What prompted this little line of musing, actually, was something a bit simpler and far more trivial: at the traffic light waiting to get onto I85, I found myself behind some moron with an "Impeach Obama" bumper sticker. The problem with this sticker isn't that the driver doesn't like the President--that's his right, naturally, and an "I Hate Obama" sticker (or even a "Don't Blame Me, I Voted For McCain" sticker, however prematurely-posted) wouldn't have inspired me to call the person responsible for the sticker a retard. No, the problem with the sticker is that it advertises the person's apparent complete ignorance in how his government actually works; the President is impeachable for "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors," and there's no rational evidence for any of the above at this date. Granted that there's some confusion about what constitutes a "high crime" or "misdemeanor"--then-Representative Gerald Ford famously said a high crime or misdemeanor was whatever Congress said it was, which seems overbroad and yet the two impeachments that have occurred were politically-charged affairs that provide little guidance otherwise. Still, one has to conclude that the person responsible for the bumper sticker either doesn't know what the grounds for impeachment are or believes in some utterly crazy crackpot theory that features President Obama as a member of a Fifth Column of insane East Africans who have been trying to take over the government of the United States for forty years by carefully positioning one of their representatives to win a hotly-contested primary and thereby have some possibility of maybe being elected to the Presidency of the United States. (Oh, if only they'd foreseen the need to destroy that Kenyan birth certificate before a dentist could bring their plans crashing down 'round their ears!) Either way, you know, the guy's a moron.1

There is some good, I learned today, in the morons exposing themselves, as a jackass at Investor's Business Daily recently did,2 writing:

People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.

...a comment that was subsequently retracted from the editorial when it was pointed out that Professor Hawking is, you know, English and lives in England (where he's a professor at the university at the center of my favorite band's hometown, by the way--which is actually in, hold on to your hats, England).

Hawking himself responded, "I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS [National Health Service]." And that wasn't the last of it.

A common refrain one hears in this country from opponents of national healthcare is the repeated criticism of British healthcare. Say that you're in favor of some kind of national healthcare system in certain crowds, and you can practically count down to, "So you want medical rationing like they have in Britain?"

In the wake of the IBD gaffe and similarly-themed statements by conservatives here, however, the Brits have actually started to stand up for themselves, and this is the nice thing I learned today: it seems that "#welovetheNHS" has become a popular feed on Twitter and many Brits are coming to the defense of their slandered healthcare system (additional examples of NHS feeling the love can be found in the comments of the previously-linked Daily Mail article).

Granted, this is all anecdotal evidence, and online anecdotal evidence, which is the worst kind of anecdotal evidence. But at least it's an antidote to the usual tired song we hear in the States about how utterly awful British healthcare is and apparently has been for the sixty-one years the British have had to suffer through it after it was forced down their throats by Great Britain's most notorious Bolshevik. Maybe, you know, there's a reason the English have put up with what we Americans have been routinely informed is a terrible, incompetent, substandard system of providing medical coverage for six decades during which social classes have been in flux, the balance of power has shifted back and forth between liberals and conservatives, and British society has passed through economic and domestic upheavals.

I think I am now out of steam. I'd like to close this post out with something pithy and wise, or perhaps some illustrative anecdote of my own, but you know what? Endings are frequently overrated. Buffy ended badly but was a great show, Jedi is the weakest original trilogy movie but we love the original trilogy, the final scenes in Psycho are anticlimactic, dumb, and dull.3 So, clever, clever, clever; summation, summation, summation, final flourish. Thank you for your consideration. Have a good weekend.

1So what about the people with "Impeach Bush" bumper stickers? That depends on when they were slapped on the bumpers, since there potentially were grounds for impeaching President Bush by the time he left office. If President Bush authorized torture, for instance (a complicated and unresolved question at this time), I think evidence that the President authorized the commission of felonies under Federal law and crimes against humanity per treaties that the United States is party to probably constitutes commission of "high crimes" under a commonsense interpretation of that phrase.

The question of whether misleading Congress as to the grounds for military authorization (as President Bush evidently did, as did President Lyndon Johnson after the Tonkin Gulf incident) is grounds for impeachment is probably more complicated. Is it a "high crime" or a "misdemeanor" within the meaning of Article II? I don't know. One suspects it's a bit worse than lying under oath about getting your wang sucked, which the House has deemed a ground for impeachment, but I don't think that's a very serious or meaningful answer, frankly: the question of a President's duty to the public and to the co-branches of government in a free society deserves a more thoughtful response than a snarky reference to a dated bit of partisan political theater.

People who had "Impeach Bush" bumper stickers six months into the Administration were morons. People who had such stickers six months before the Administration left office may have had a legitimate point.

2H/T to Phiala!

3"Hi, I'm Doctor Exposition, a licensed psychiatrist/expositioner who has been hired by the court to explain the plot of the movie to slow people in the back row of the auditorium. (Hi, guys!) Now, I'd like to bore you gentlemen with a hackneyed explanation of why Norman Bates is crazy, but you may want to get yourselves a fresh cup of coffee, because I promise that this explanation of Mr. Bates' psychosis is not only hackneyed, has no basis in contemporary psychiatry (and it's 1960, we still blame having gay on bad mothering and treat it with electroshock! we're practically trepanners!), but also very boring. If you want to leave now, please do--I'm the next-to-last thing in the film except for a last double-exposure shot and cheesy voiceover that really isn't worth sitting through my lecture."

7 comments: Friday, August 14, 2009 at 3:42:00 PM EDT  

Only thing I remember about Psycho is the shower scene.

Random Michelle K Friday, August 14, 2009 at 5:01:00 PM EDT  

Please twitter.

Please? Don't make me beg. Let me keep my pride.

vince Saturday, August 15, 2009 at 1:23:00 PM EDT  

Eric, post like this is one of the reasons that, despite our differences, I'm proud to call you a friend.

You need to write for a living dude!

Leanright,  Saturday, August 15, 2009 at 3:25:00 PM EDT  

I just love this quote:

Dr. Adrian Rogers 1931-2005
"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom."

"What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving."

"The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. "

"When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for...that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation."

"You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."

HannahJ Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 8:01:00 PM EDT  

Have to say that I'm glad you don't have a Twitter. Couldn't bear to see yet another group up use the word retard. Give me a break. Have you no decency? Why use a slur that demeans people with special needs? Ever stop to consider that they are human beings with feeling? They totally get what you are all about and they understand that you are mocking them.
Who would have thought that there are adults out there still using language they should have left behind in 7th grade.

Leanright,  Thursday, August 20, 2009 at 10:54:00 PM EDT  

Hannah, in defense of Eric, which isn't often, on MY end :), do you mean "retards" as in those with special needs? or those on the "left"? just curious.

I make that mistake all the time.

Thank you,
Love, Dave

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