No one deserves to be gunned down. Not even a politician with white-supremacy leanings.
The shooting of United States House of Representatives Majority Whip and representative for Louisiana’s 1st congressional district Steve Scalise, one of nine mass shootings in the United States this week, dominated the news cycle this week.
The story brought many oddities to light. Scalise, a man who once referred to himself as David Duke without the baggage, was saved by black officers. This speaks to the officers’ bravery and willingness to do their job to protect everyone and for one day — even for Scalise — Black Lives Mattered. But that sentiment was short lived as a jury in Minnesota decided, in some cases, white lives still matter more.
But, one of the greatest twists was the issue of healthcare.
Scalise underwent several surgeries, in large part, because of the open carry law he supported. His NRA-funded support meant a mentally ill man was able to use a high-powered rifle to attack him, damaging internal organs in the process. Presumably, though, the Congressman received the best health care from the best doctors funded by taxpayers like me and you because his life matters. In fact, it matters much more than the individuals he worked so hard to take health care away from with the American Health Care Act.
His medical treatment is indicative of how unfairly health care is divvied out in the United States.
‘Wrong Job’ Means No Health Care Coverage
Buried inside a story in my local newspaper is the more common approach to health care for ‘real Americans.’
A public servant in Preble County, who works two part time jobs (one for a county agency), was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. Since this individual works two part time jobs, instead of a full time job with benefits, he has no health insurance. This means the full financial brunt of the medical diagnosis is on him. It means raffle ticket sales and fundraisers throughout our community to offset what is certain to be a very costly situation. Although this Preble County man, like the Congressman, is working for the public, unlike the Congressman this local resident does not have the political clout that guarantees high-quality health care.
Warren Davidson, who serves in the House of Representatives for Ohio’s 8th Congressional District where I live, is Scalise’s co-worker. Davidson is also a member of the Freedom Caucus, the group largely responsible for the ‘mean’ (Trump’s words) AHCA that passed a month or so ago. Davidson, placed in the House through heavy funding by Club for Growth, is fond of saying, “It is not compassionate to bankrupt America.” Although his poorly written marketing tagline is not catching on, it does speak to the political tactic which falsely frames dissenting views. When 45* released his draconian budget a few weeks ago, Davidson was one of the first to praise it. He said,
We cannot bankrupt America. Finally, it appears we have a president who takes this problem seriously. President Trump’s budget bends the out of control spending curve in the right direction by making good on his promises to reform mandatory spending, cut wasteful programs, and balance the budget. This is a serious proposal to begin addressing our nation’s fiscal crisis.
I’ll admit I’m a cynic. I’ve heard the fiscal crisis, America is going bankrupt line of reasoning from the GOP my entire adult life. Yet somehow, we always find a way to build more MOABs, spend billions protecting oil interests in the Middle East — causing many in my community — yanked in and out of the Middle East for a decade — to be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as these citizen soldiers experience underreported autrocities. Trump’s budget proposal will continue to fund these imperialistic wars via military entitlement spending while gutting funding for small communities like mine.
One of the proposals in Trump’s budget is to kill the Community Development Block Grant program. A recent front page story in my community paper details what a small Preble County village will do with the $300,000 CDBG funds it received. As a county, we have relied on CDBGs for decades because it is one of the handful of resources we still have to stem our tidal wave of poverty.
Government Is Always Bad
In 1964, John Stormer, a chairman of the Missouri Federation of Young Republicans, published None Dare Call it Treason. I read (most of) the book and will readily admit, I do not have enough fear and am not conspiracy-minded enough to believe half of what is written. But the more dangerous aspect of the book — and the countless like it in the past 50 or so years — is the anti-government rhetoric. It may have inadvertently played a part in the shooting as the shooter may have grown tired of the dismantling.
We have raised a generation or more of anti-government individuals who naively believe that government can only be evil. Many are growing tired of the rhetoric realizing that politicians, not citizens, benefit from the position. But, oddly enough, in the aftermath of the gunfire aimed at the political class there suddenly arose a desire to change the tone. Even ‘Cat-Scratch Fever’ Teddy Nugent backtracked his comments about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Now he wants us all to play nice.
What a cowardly hypocrite.
Hate Is a More Powerful Motivator Than Love
One of the key individuals who unleashed Donald Trump on a government-hating element of our society was political operative Roger Stone. In the documentary Get Me Roger Stone, Stone relays some of his rules which include: Hate Is a More Powerful Motivator Than Love. Stone’s political career began with Richard Nixon (he has Nixon’s face tattooed on his back) and he is the embodiment of ‘government is evil.’ He openly admits in the film that ‘unsophisticated’ (his term) voters would latch onto Trump’s anti-establishment rhetoric. The film is worth watching just to get a feel for how unlike most Americans political operatives can be — they thrive on power, not justice.
At the end of the day, though, one has to question who wins in this environment of hate, propaganda and politics by marketing?
I believe Scalise will come through his health care crisis financially unscathed.
I don’t feel so optimistic for the Preble County man.