But there was nothing like this. To find a prototype for the overheated reaction to the health care bill, you have to look a year before Medicare, to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Both laws passed by similar majorities in Congress; the Civil Rights Act received even more votes in the Senate (73) than Medicare (70). But it was only the civil rights bill that made some Americans run off the rails. That’s because it was the one that signaled an inexorable and immutable change in the very identity of America, not just its governance.
The apocalyptic predictions then, like those about health care now, were all framed in constitutional pieties, of course. Barry Goldwater, running for president in ’64, drew on the counsel of two young legal allies, William Rehnquist and Robert Bork, to characterize the bill as a “threat to the very essence of our basic system” and a “usurpation” of states’ rights that “would force you to admit drunks, a known murderer or an insane person into your place of business.” Richard Russell, the segregationist Democratic senator from Georgia, said the bill “would destroy the free enterprise system.” David Lawrence, a widely syndicated conservative columnist, bemoaned the establishment of “a federal dictatorship.” Meanwhile, three civil rights workers were murdered in Philadelphia, Miss.
Remember how awful the Civil Rights Act turned out to be? How it ended free enterprise, established a federal dictatorship, forced association with murderers. Probably even created AIDS.
If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.
Blacks, Latinas and Gays, oh shit! And Rich is right. I wondered where all the racism had gone during the 2008 campaign. Looks like we found it. This "movement" (in the same sense that a turd is) may turn out to be the last gasp of the WASPs while they are the majority. Insanity, fear, and hatred have become the mechanisms of discourse in our country, and it is not the fault of the left. Not this time.
I recently had this diatribe launched at me during what was supposed to be a civil discussion of health care;
If you are a socialist than you do not belong in this country because this country was never intended to have a socialized government and to hold that ideology in this country is simply un-American.
In the right's America there is no freedom of speech, expression, association, or thought. It's their way or the highway. The sooner we on the left recognize that we are engaged against intellectual adversaries who do not mean us well the better. This is not an honest debate. It is a 6 year old telling a dentist that toothpaste rots your teeth. Let's drop the meme that "all opinions are equally valid".