Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Olbermann Redux: "There is no death panel, Ms. Palin"

Finally as promised a Special Comment on this terrible moment in American history, and those unfortunate and irresponsible Americans who have brought us to it.

"The America I know and love," the quitter governor of Alaska Sarah Palin began, "is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."

Of course it is, Ms. Palin, and that is why it does not exist, has not existed, and would never, under this president, nor any other president, ever exist, in this country.

There is no 'death panel.' There is no judgment based on societal productivity. There is no worthiness test. But there is downright evil, and Ms. Palin, you just served its cause. You shouted "fire" in a crowded theater — a hot one — and then today tried to roll it back with "no, no, sorry, not fire, I meant flashlights."

Too little, too late, too obvious. Madam, you are a clear and present danger to the safety and security of this nation. Whether the 'death panel' is something you dreamed, or something you dreamed-up, whether it is the product of a low intellect and a fevered imagination, or the product of a high intelligence and a sober ability to exploit people, you should be ashamed of yourself for having introduced it into the public discourse, and it should debar you, for all time, from any position of responsibility or trust in the governance of this nation or any of its states or municipalities.

But it will not. Because a percentage of America does not want explanations nor serious conversation. It wants panic and the guilty thrill of chaos and an excuse to bash skulls and hang people in effigy. Or not in effigy. Ms. Palin, what, in spirit, is the difference between this monstrous image of a congressman hanged in effigy and the indefensible smile of pride on the idiot's face.

And this image with not one murderer in the mob even feeling the need to hide his face for fear of justice that would never come? They are both, to use your phrase, "Death Panels." Ms. Palin, you might as well have declared that the government is being run by a coven of witches with fake Kenyan birth certificates.

And you might as well have told the vast unthinking throng that mistakes your ability to wink for leadership, that they should start shooting at Democrats. There would be no need to tell them to bring guns. Others have done that. Somebody left his at an Arizona Town Hall.

And incidentally, Madam, you have forfeited your right to be taken seriously the next time you claim offense at somebody mentioning your children. You have just exploited your youngest child, dangled him in front of a mindless mob as surely as if you were Michael Jackson. You have used this innocent infant as an excuse to pander to the worst and least of us in this nation. You have used him to create the false image of 'death panels.'

The only 'death panels,' Ms. Palin, are the figurative ones you have inspired with such irresponsible, dangerous, facile, vile, hate speech. The death of common sense. The death of logic.The death, perhaps, of Democracy, at the hands of mob rule. If someone is hurt at one of these Town Halls, pro-Reform, anti-Reform, or, most likely, as these things tend to play out in the real life you know so little about, Ms. Palin — if the hurt befalls an innocent bystander —you will have contributed to the harm.

You might very well become, Ms. Palin, the very thing you have sought to create in the lurid imaginations of those spoiling for a fight, waiting for an excuse, looking for a rationalization of their own hatred, their own racism, their own unwillingness to accept Democracy. You, Ms. Palin, may yet become the de facto chairman of a Death Panel. Your higher calling, Ms. Palin. God forgive you, Ms. Palin.

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