I had the opportunity to visit Russia in the spring of 1999, not too many years after the collapse of the Soviet Union - a political event that also brought about the general collapse of socialism and the state's ability and willingness to take care of those in need. Some of my clearest memories of that trip were seeing old people lying on the sidewalks apparently waiting to die - some of whom were writhing in pain. A few people would stop and drop a ruble or two into a can, but for the most part people just walked on, unable to solve society's woes as simple individuals.
Those memories came back to me this week as I heard reports about the latest Republican/Teabagger debate, and particularly Ron Paul's evasive response to the question Wolf Blitzer asked about insurance and individual responsibility versus insane medical bills. Blitzer wanted to know what should happen if a healthy thirty-year-old man chooses not to buy medical insurance and then has a catastrophic medical problem. Dr. Paul (a medical doctor) evaded the question like the politician he is. But Blitzer would not let him get away with that, and he persisted: "But Congressman, are you saying that society should just let him die?"
And at that point the live audience of knucke-draggers and mouth-breathers apparently exploded in a collective and loud response of "Yeah!" Mob-mentality at its finest - and this from a group that fears "death panels!"
Today a related story broke about Ron Paul's former campaign chairman, Kent Snyder, who died of pneumonia and without insurance in 2008. His sister said that he could not afford insurance due to a pre-existing condition. When Mr. Snyder died, he owed hospital bills that totaled in excess of $400,000 - but he made his exit while maintaining his "individual responsibility" and not freeloading off of the government. His poor mother, however, is still struggling to pay off the debt.
Ron Paul, Rand Paul, and Tom Coburn are all medical doctors, and there does not seem to be an ounce of compassion or conscience between them. In fact, all of the Republi-bagger candidates seem to totally lack a conscience with the possible exceptions of Huntsman and Romney - and Romney is struggling to lose his!
But far worse than the candidates and other assorted nut-job politicians is the audience - the collection of cretins to whom the candidates are appealing. These psychos are cheering for death to the poor - whether they be people who have no way of insuring themselves, or Rick Perry's prisoners of color who predominantly inhabit the death row in Texas.
These are the people who kill doctors to protect fetuses, and then fight like hell to end programs that would help poor children survive and stay healthy. They roam the desert hoping to be able to shoot some "illegals," and they hate gays, Muslims, racial minorities, and people who have three-digit IQ's. These are people who raffle off an automatic handgun in the same city where the same type of handgun was used to seriously wound a congresswoman - and kill a Federal judge, a child, and several other people just a couple of months earlier. They parade outside of Presidential speeches carrying automatic weapons, and they lobby for laws that would let them take their guns anywhere - even into churches. They own guns, guns, and more guns - and they masturbate over dreams of hiding out in the hills and killing the feds who will surely one day try to take their guns away!
They celebrate death and they revel in the power and the noise of stupidity!
Praise Jeezus and pass the ammunition!