Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Thought on Town Hall Madness for a Tuesday Evening

Many of you have probably been reading and watching the hysterical zombies showing up at town hall meetings over the last week. It appears to have reached a critical mass of "special" this weekend, though, as Sarah Palin reared her lovely head as usual and became the leading voice behind the "deathers," people who have become convinced beyond all convincing otherwise that under the new health care paradigm, panels of faceless bureaucrats will be formed with the authority to give a Caesar-like thumbs-up or thumbs-down on whether or not elderly, ill people will receive life-saving treatment.

This meme grew out of a tiny provision that requires the public care program to provide (if desired) end-of-life counseling for things like writing living wills, etc. It is an attempt to ensure that seniors can have their will expressed should they have a life-threatening illness. Right-wing spinmeisters used this as a method of causing more hysteria by distorting this into "death panels."

What I would like to see is a Congressman or Senator who can cut these things to pieces without insulting his audience. When confronted by a deather, I'd like them to say this:

"Sir/ma'am, I'm going to assume that you know -- and this is out of respect for you, not an attack on your honesty -- that no such provision actually exists in the proposed legislation. I'm sure you know that. So what you must be concerned about is that you believe the bill as it stands will create, unavoidably, situations in which some seniors will simply be left by the wayside because someone, somewhere in government, has decided these folks are simply not worth saving. I would absolutely agree with you that if true, this would be deplorable. Can you please explain to me what you see happening as a consequence of our health care reform bill that would lead to this, so that I can bring your concerns to committee and ensure that absolutely cannot happen?"

This will result in one of three answers:

1) Crickets.
2) Stammering.

All three of these make the deathers look stupid and are easily countered with reality.

Come on, guys. Let's get organized already.


Anonymous said...


Do you have a source for the actual proposed legislation? I'm not saying you are wrong, but if you haven't read the legislation, your knowledge of the proposal is from a secondary (and probably biased) source similar to that of the "deathers."

J D said...


Yes. http://docs.house.gov/edlabor/AAHCA-BillText-071409.pdf Section 1233.

I've been trying to read as much of it as I can recently.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, the provisions that sparked the outrage in the first place was A. mainly a way to ensure that living wills get made before they're needed, as being made /afterwards/ is a bit too late, and B. actually originated and sponsored by a Republican.

You know, so they don't get embarrassed by Terry Shiavo-esque cases all over again.

I love how little research goes into these civil protests - and believe me, I'm not just eyeing the Right with that statement.

Anonymous said...


Thanks. It is awesome to hear political opinions that are actually based in fact rather than what someone heard on the news or read on a sign.

If everyone did a little research I think much of the protests and complaints would disappear.