Everyone who has a Facebook account has gotten notices that so and so is a friend of a friend of yours, asking if you want to “friend” them (yes, “friend” is sometimes a verb in Facebook-speak). I got such a notice the other day about a guy named Jeff. What the hell, I thought, throwing caution to the winds. What can I say, I’m a risk-taking, living-on-the-edge kind of guy. I went for it. I friended him.
I soon realized that this friend-of-a-friend that I had friended was something of a right winger. Among the first few postings from him I saw were complaints that people attending Congressional town hall meetings who disagreed with the Democrats were being denied their First Amendment rights. What I had seen in the TV news coverage of the meetings showed these people not being prevented from speaking, even though their “speaking” consisted of screaming at the top of their lungs, preventing others from exercising their First Amendment rights. I began to wonder what this guy was talking about. Had I walked through the Looking Glass?
From there, he went on to talk about how health care reform would result in “rationing.” At that point, I had to jump in. Since Jeff wrote in complete, grammatical sentences, I made the mistake of thinking he was a guy who would be interested in, you know, facts. Silly me, how wrong I was.
I explained that my wife has congestive heart failure, a very serious illness and that since we don’t have health insurance, she can’t get the care she needs, care that could well keep her from dying prematurely. Isn’t that a form of rationing, I asked. Jeff responded by saying that maybe my wife should go to one of those “better” countries that have universal health care (yes, he used the quotation marks). I’ll let you absorb that for a moment.
Surprise of surprises, Jeff just happens to have a friend in Canada whose mother also had congestive heart failure. This “friend’s mother,” for some strange reason, was refused treatment by those rationing bastard Canadian doctors. She even had enough money to afford private health care but couldn’t get it since private health care doesn’t exist in Canada. No one would take her money, even to save her life.
I had suspected all along that this “friend’s mother” was every bit as real as the guy who woke up to find that his kidney had been stolen by a hooker, but I kept my doubts to myself; I knew expressing them would result in a huge slap fight. I calmly informed Jeff that he was factually incorrect. I knew this for certain as my friend Sarah, an American citizen, had surgery in Canada several years ago which she paid for out of her own pocket. I even named the surgeon and said that his clinic was in Montreal. Sarah went to Canada because this surgeon has an international reputation and he charges several thousand dollars less than any hospital in the U.S. for the same operation.
Now you might think that a “clear thinker” (as Jeff describes himself) would realize that he was simply misinformed about the Canadian health care system and realize that he could therefore be wrong about the effect a similar system would have on the U.S. In a spectacular display of cognitive dissonance, Jeff conceded that his (possibly apocryphal) “friend’s mother” had been given a health care ration of Zero, but apparently couldn’t see that my wife is going through the same thing in this country. If a (possibly apocryphal) Canadian dies due to denied health care, it’s a tragedy. If an American dies for the same reason, it’s OK because who would want to live if living requires *GASP* Universal Health Care? The rules of logic change when you cross the 49th Parallel, I guess.
Continuing to play along with the story of the “Canadian woman who died because no one would take her money for the private health care that doesn’t exist,” I said that the real cause of her death was ignorance. I didn’t say she was stupid or unintelligent; I didn’t know the woman (if she even actually existed, that is) so I can have no opinion of her intelligence. I used the word “ignorant” correctly. I’m a fairly bright person but there are subjects about which I know little. I am ignorant about those subjects. If you live in a country which provides universal health care and you die because you don’t know that fact, you are ignorant. I’d call that World Class Ignorance.
Instead of conceding that he was factually incorrect about Canadian health care, Jeff sniffed that he knew that any debate with a liberal would eventually result in the liberal calling someone ignorant.
The really sad thing here is that, even though he was presented with actual FACTS, Jeff has, consciously or unconsciously, decided to remain–yes, I’m going to say it–IGNORANT on this subject.
The point of this little story is not that some guy who I don’t know and will probably never meet doesn’t know what he’s talking about with regard to the real world consequences of America’s shitty health care. The problem is that he’s just one of millions of America citizens who don’t know diddly and still think they are informed enough to have an opinion. These are the people you see screaming at the town hall meetings on the TV cable “news” shows. They don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about…and thanks to the Democrats who can’t or won’t fight back against the tide of stupidity, they’re winning the debate.
It would be laughable if it didn’t have the possibility of killing my wife (and millions of other Americans) prematurely. I guess I should be glad that my wife doesn’t have to put up with *GASP* Universal Health Care–you know, the only thing that has the realistic possibility of saving her life.