Hate & Health: A "Proud Day" for the Conservative Movement...

Reading the news? I got sick to my stomach today as I listened to NPR's coverage of the response to last night's health care passage. Huffington Post reports:

Abusive, derogatory and even racist behavior directed at House Democrats by Tea Party protesters on Saturday left several lawmakers in shock.

Preceding the president's speech to a gathering of House Democrats, thousands of protesters descended around the Capitol to protest the passage of health care reform. The gathering quickly turned into abusive heckling, as members of Congress passing through Longworth House office building were subjected to epithets and even mild physical abuse... Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) had been spat on by a protestor. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a hero of the civil rights movement, was called a 'ni**er.' And Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a "faggot," as protestors shouted at him with deliberately lisp-y screams... Clyburn was downright incredulous, saying he had not witnessed such treatment since he was leading civil rights protests in South Carolina in the 1960s.

"It was absolutely shocking to me," Clyburn said... "Last Monday, this past Monday, I stayed home to meet on the campus of Claflin University where fifty years ago as of last Monday... I led the first demonstrations in South Carolina, the sit ins... And quite frankly I heard some things today I have not heard since that day. I heard people saying things that I have not heard since March 15, 1960 when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus."


Asked if he wanted an apology from the group of Republican lawmakers who had addressed the crowd and, in many ways, played on their worst fears of health care legislation, the Democratic Party, and the president, Clyburn replied:

"A lot of us have been saying for a long time that much of this, much of this is not about health care a all. And I think a lot of those people today demonstrated that this is not about health care... it is about trying to extend a basic fundamental right to people who are less powerful."

Click here to read more.

"It is about trying to extend a basic fundamental right to people who are less powerful."

In my mind, everything that matters keeps coming back to the practicality and applicability of what we hold to be true.

God of the Oppressed, James Cone uses a Karl Marx quotation on philosophy to describe problems with the detachment and cultural privilege of theology: "Philosophy [and we could add theology] and the study of the actual world have the same relation to one another as masturbation and sexual love."

Cone elaborates:

"Since most professional theologians are the descendants of the advantaged class and thus often represent the consciousness of the class, it is difficult not to conclude that their theologies are in fact a bourgeois exercise in intellectual masturbation."

Marx's critique of religion (along with many liberation theologians) is that theological posturing keeps the masses from doing anything to change the actual world in which they live. Everything is cerebralized and spiritualized, and everyone "makes due" in the here-and-now out of hope for a rewarding afterlife.

So God-damn those liberals for trying to do something real.

Jesus' flesh-and-blood ministry challenged the economy of empire, and the culture of class isolation. But in America, most of us are still drunk on a dream of self-made-destiny and prosperity. We think we're entitled to something that never existed. We strive for it at the expense of the most vulnerable.


WKen said...


Purely brilliant.

You're right, the people sitting around saying that Christians should take care of the poor, but not doing it, are just like people wanking instead of taking their wives to bed.

I'm with you ... I was very sad and angry listening to rhetoric today. Given that most of my friends are well to my right, you can imagine how that's gone.

I've had my faith, patriotism, and intelligence questioned more than a couple times today.

Peter said...

I'm right there with you Ken. I'm not really at liberty to give an answer when folks ask me how I feel about "Obama destroying our country." And even when I do have that freedom, it's sort of like spraying a hornets' nest with a garden hose: sounds like a good idea until you realize it didn't do anything except piss them off and get you stung.

Biting my tongue is a hard lesson to learn.

WKen said...

A friend of mine lamented today on Facebook that he is witnessing the death of conversation.

This came after several of our other friends (and members of our church) have been posting about the death of democracy and freedom ...

nadine.w said...

Great post. I agree. Reminds me of Ebert's blog "on festering anger."

elly said...

Does anyone know of a good website that clearly explains the new health care bill? I have seen a few but they all seem biased. It appears the actual bill is longer than "Gone With The Wind" but written in some weird congressional language. Since I'm overseas, maybe I'm missing most of the debate. Help?

Side note: I live in a country where everyone (including me) has a health card and access to medical care... I've been in and out of the hospital a lot lately with a torn ACL and I've had it up to HERE with the crowded waiting rooms and lack of bedside manner. HOWEVER... I got an MRI on my knee and my out-of-pocket was roughly $12. And every session with my physical therapist is $1.50. I may need to have surgery as well, and my boss suggested I go back to the States to have it done--but then we both laughed (he's also American.) As I don't have insurance there, and obviously have a pre-existing condition, having surgery in the US would likely cost me twice what I paid (am still paying) for 4 years of college tuition!

It's interesting to be on the other side, in a system of universal health care (which has been established here for over 10 years). It definitely has its hassles and problems, but I choose sitting in a crowded waiting room for an hour over going into medical debt, I think. There are still private hospitals and specialists that don't accept the NHI card, so I guess the "rich people" can still get their healthcare separate from the poor, if they want (it seems some Americans are concerned about that happening??)

Enjoying the conversation, as always...

Anthony said...

Elly - the analysis at
strikes me as clear, straightforward, and nonpartisan.

elly said...

thank you, Anthony--i will check it out!

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