Stop equating things you disagree with to atrocities

Earlier this week, former Presidential candidate Rick Santorum equated Obamacare with Apartheid. Obamacare has also been referred to as Nazism because in the mind of its critics they associate anything that has a hint of socialistic concern as something that should be labeled with such an atrocious label. The obvious purpose is to inflame and influence an uninformed electorate using terms representing atrocities to label something that they do not like. While imperfect, complex and rolled out poorly, to equate something that is trying to help people gain access to insurance and healthcare as akin to Apartheid and Nazism to me portrays ignorance, deception or some of both.

Apartheid was the government sanctioned version of our Jim Crow laws and culture in the US. The sad difference is in South Africa, the main perpetrator was the federal government itself as it cracked down on people of color stripping them of human rights and their dignity. It took worldwide boycotts and sanctions to shine a spotlight on these atrocities. It should be added that President Reagan did not support these sanctions, but fortunately Congress overturned his veto and we joined the rest of the world in economically condemning South Africa’s apartheid. I have yet to see sanctions or boycotts on the US for passing Obamacare, so I think it is indeed a stretch by Mr. Santorum’s to equate the two.

Nazism means far more than the socialism in its underlying name. Nazism stands for fascism and purging of those who disagree with you. It also stands for exterminating Jewish people or people of different sexual orientation. When people say Nazism to describe something, its meaning portrays malevolence. To equate anything with Nazism needs to be a very serious set of atrocities. To call Obamacare or anything that has a concern for a greater good as Nazism is just plain wrong and akin to the Santorum’s ignorant remark about Apartheid.

Setting the atrocity labels aside, socialism is getting an unfair rap. First, per a recent survey, the happiest people on the planet are in Sweden, which has a socialistic economy. Second, the US Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are all social insurance programs and they are appreciated by Americans. If you don’t believe me, just watch the fervor over any issue to decrease or cut back those benefits. Since I mentioned President Reagan above, he did several commercials calling Medicare socialism before it was passed in 1965. Does this tactic sound familiar? Fortunately for him, he did not say Nazism, as the greatest generation who fought them twenty years earlier and all Jews would have ended his political career then and there.

Third, Obamacare is actually a blend of socialism and capitalism. It is not national healthcare nor will it lead to it – the healthcare industrial complex won’t let that happen. While the Medicaid expansion is socialistic in nature, the exchanges are capitalistic in nature. The ironic part is the exchanges are a GOP idea created as an initial concept by the Heritage Foundation (yes that one) and used in Romneycare and supported by Mr. Tea Party, former Senator Jim DeMInt until Obamacare adopted the concept. DeMint even went so far to advocate the mandate on talk shows. So, for several years now, I have found GOP opposition to Obamacare fairly hypocritical.

I recognize that I will not change the minds of people on Obamacare. The public relation engines against it are quite powerful and its imperfections and poor roll out provide suitable ammunition. Yet, it does move the ball forward in spite of highly political attempts to cause it to fail – not expanding Medicaid in twenty states, not running state based exchanges in 36 states, telling young people not to sign up (what parent would do that?) and not allowing communication dollars to help promote how to use it. Even with the balky rollout, as of November 30, 803,000 people had signed up for Medicaid expansion in the states allowing it and 365,000 have signed up for the exchanges and those numbers are growing rapidly. That is on top of the 3 million young adults who have been able to remain on their parents plan before age 26 because of an early implemented feature of Obamacare.

Yet, irrespective of how you feel about the law, please stop calling it Apartheid or Nazism. You are showing your ignorance or being Machiavellian or both. Plus, it does a disservice to South Africans and Jews who died at the hands of their oppressors and that is an insult. I think Santorum owes an apology to many people, those he offended and those he tried to disinform.




7 thoughts on “Stop equating things you disagree with to atrocities

  1. No, BTG, I don’t *like* this, however I do agree with speaking out against twisted comparisons, bent assumptions, and just plain false information in an attempt to discredit. I also believe we have done ourselves an enormous dis-service in making the choice to not hold accountable those who make false remarks, and accept their “word(s)” as truth in all manner and avenues of social discourse. Shame on us

    • Raye, thanks. I was thinking how a reporter could follow-up without indicating bias in the question. A reporter might ask, Mr. Santorum, if you feel that way, could you share with us any countries that have sanctioned or boycotted the US because of passing Obamacare? Or, Mr. Santorum could you share with us how many people have been killed because of Obamacare since you equivocate it to Apartheid? These are legitimate questions to ask of someone who misrepresents. It is like Herman Cain’s 999 plan falling apart when people asked him questions about it. I would have loved a reporter to ask Newt Gingrich, “when you said you were wrong about global warming in 2006 and did the TV commercial, were you wrong to say you wrong or are you wrong now to say you wrong to say you were wrong?” Thanks for writing, BTG

  2. Raye, it seems investigative journalism and asking legitimate questions have both waned. With everyone watching their own version of the truth, the real truth gets drowned out. As always, thanks for your thoughts. They are appreciated. BTG

  3. Of course, you are preaching to the choir here, but thanks just the same. We need more sanity to counterbalance the rampant rhetoric.

    This is sublime: While imperfect, complex and rolled out poorly, to equate something that is trying to help people gain access to insurance and healthcare as akin to Apartheid and Nazism to me portrays ignorance, deception or some of both.

    • Linda, many thanks. I just wish more of the non-Choir would take notice. Of course, a sad truth is there may be some actual Choir members who buy into this rhetoric. Some of the vitriolic statements have been made by ministers, which trouble me greatly, as people will accept this as gospel truth. Thanks for writing, BTG

      • All, North Carolina State Senator Bob Rucho is getting national notoriety the past two days for the following tweet: “Justice Robert’s pen & Obamacare has done more damage to the USA then the swords of the Nazis, Soviets & terrorists combined.” The GOP State Chairman has called on him to apologize, but he stands by his comments and said he meant the economic impact. Other GOP state leaders have also criticized him as well as several Rabbi’s and other religious and business leaders. This is par for the course for Senator Rucho as he has a history of being divisive and ramming through legislation without due diligence and he has a number of tweets that “name call” people who disagree with him. He has a principal role in an expensive airport control fight between the state of NC and City of Charlotte, when even the airlines said it was one of the best run airports, and he has an active role in wanting one of Charlotte’s suburb cities to secede from the City. The sad part is he is co-chair of the Senate Finance committee, so he has clout. I hope this latest episode will shine light on his vitriolic behavior and comments. BTG

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