To get everyone up to speed on how we got here, the first three boxcars on this train of thought (or non-thought, as the case may be):
by O Society August 9, 2019
Our discourse uncovered and discovered Donald Trump controls the message through a bottleneck and the mainstream media amplify his signal with dial-on-11 mindless repetition of his message.
Next we’ll talk about the audience – Trumpets – because they are part of this feedback loop too, of course. Can’t have a cult without the cult members…
And – surprise! – we’ll also talk about liberal social justice warriors, because they are just as big a part of the circus audience as the Trumpets are. Everyone’s watching the spectacle and the color of everyone’s money isn’t red or blue, it’s green.
We’ll start off with a recent random example, and remind ourselves to “Follow the money” out loud.
I recently received an email from someone about a question from the first Democratic debate. The person was mad as hell over the idea of undocumented immigrants getting free medical care. But this question is far more nuanced than it appears on TV. Actually, undocumented immigrants already get free medical care. No one gets turned away.
In my practice as a physician (e.g., at a university, working for the state, and in private practice) I always received just under 50% of what I billed. So, I provided a lot of free care, some of it to undocumented immigrants. Hence, the issue is not whether undocumented immigrants should get free care, but whether doctors and hospitals actually are going to get reimbursed for providing such care.
In other words, the question goes far deeper than it appears to be on a debate on TV. Of course, the person who sent me the email did not respond back when I told them the truth. They rarely do.
Whose fault is this? What happened? Why don’t people stay in their own lane?
The person did what people do, which is repeat talking points they’ve heard. These talking points come from TV, Twitter, memes on Facebook mostly. Some people read real books and essays too but it isn’t necessary to get down these talking point tropes. All that’s needed is the repetition. Understanding is optional. Really optional.
The talking points at the Democratic primary came from CNN and the candidates. Neither has a vested interest in nuance or reality. One wants ratings (which begets ad money) and the other wants to get elected (which is measured by polls for now) or at least get campaign funds. Follow the $.
So what we get on email is someone who is told by someone else to regurgitate the “free medical care to the dirty undeserving immigrants if X is elected” talking point.
Note: the lack of correspondence this talking point shares with realty is completely irrelevant. What’s relevant is perception mediated via gut feelings and knee-jerk Pavlovian conditioning.
“Medicare for All” does sound like a blanket statement guaranteeing health care as a “universal human right,” meaning every human in the universe. You may or may not agree with this view, but it isn’t new.
FDR’s Second Bill of Rights explicitly names, “The Right to Adequate Medical Care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.”
Fast forward to 2019. Here’s what Medicare for All means in the real world. A single-payer system.
Obviously what made our commenter “mad as hell” was not the idea he/she would get Medicare for All, what made our email person mad is the image “illegal immigrants will get it too.” Is this plausible?
We already discovered not only is it plausible, it’s what happens now. We follow the money and discover where it leads is hospital write offs.
Why should we give Americans free medical care?
One (but not the only) reason is children are involved.
So this is an example of exactly why we should give people medical care whether we can pay for it or not. Someone breaks their arm. Fix it. There should be no quibbling about money and insurance. Fix their damn arm. If you don’t, you’re going to get a kid who turns into an adult with an arm bent like a coat hanger. This isn’t useful to anyone. A lifetime of care needed now…
Now the plot thickens. The depth comes in.
What of the other side of the spectrum? The Celebrities. Why suppose you are Mickey Mantle and you need a liver transplant because you ruined yours drinking alcohol all your life. Should you get free medical care – as in millions of dollars spent – replacing your liver?
I say no. There is a limit to what “free medical care” means in any healthy realistic sense of looking at the matter. Vaccines. Antibiotics. Broken arms. Psych meds. Insulin. Epipens. Birth control, prenatal care, and delivery. These are some obvious things which definitely should be free.
The point is, we can derive the real answer to the question “Do people get free medical care in America” from our own experience as patients and providers. So could our email friend. But she/he chose not to take the 15 minutes it took me to look up a couple of legit references, read them, and include them in this article. You know, inform myself and others as to what’s going on. Why didn’t email friend do this?
Because reality isn’t important here. The real answer isn’t important. Being on the “right team,” however, is crucial.
Nobody Knew Health Care Could Be So Complicated
Well, actually we did know. But you didn’t do any investigation. Not a minute of “research” even at the Let Me Google That For You level.
You didn’t ask any real doctors or real patients what’s going on, did you?
Of course not because it isn’t what email friend (or Trump) is interested in in the first place. They’re interested in playing the scapegoat Obama demonize the Other game.
What is important is to notice people argue in these scripted ways, usually along false dichotomy fault lines designed to keep us from asking questions such as cui bono? and follow the money.
What is important is to notice most people want a narrator for their lives to tell us what things mean, how to feel about things, what our knee-jerk responses should be according to the script. But you need the “right” reality TV celebrity script if you want to “borrow” their social status.
“The only reason you’re alive right now is because Morgan Freeman is narrating your life. As he does for billions and billions of others, each day. And when you have a bout of diarrhea, Morgan Freeman narrates it, so that you appear noble. At the mercy of nature. And a taco.”
Trump says, “No free lunch for Mexicans!” So if I am a Trumpet, my duty is to regurgitate this talking point. Doesn’t matter what is real, what matters is loyaty to my Great Leader, signalling my virtue and my team Trump identity by repeating Trump’s dictate.
By the way, what did Joe Biden dictate to his followers on the “wrong” team today?
Joe told us Poor People = Not-White People and White People = Smart People
It isn’t just Donald Trump, folks. It isn’t just Republicans. It’s American as apple pie to switch “poor” for “black” or “immigrant” in your mind. Even Biden the VP guy for the black president does it. Where does Joe’s take come from?
Linda Taylor after being arrested for vagrancy in Washington State, 1944. (Courtesy of the Washington State Archives Puget Sound / Little, Brown and Company)
Notice 1944 is the same date FDR made his Economic Bill of Rights speech.
What a coincidence!!!
See when we talk about HyperNormalization or the Reality-Based Community or the Spectacle or the Disneyfication of America, these aren’t just abstract theoretical PhD intersectional constructs in a book. Instead, they are based in experience. We can observe these phenomena every day. We already do, we just may not realize this is what they’re called.
All we need do is look at the infantilization of Western culture. Most people not only can’t think outside the box, most people don’t even realize we’re in a box in the first place. They believe you are in one. Can’t be me, not my baby!
See people confuse the box for “common sense.” Hegemony is the result. For the most part, people don’t want to know how much their thoughts are not their own. Instead, we find comfort in familiarity and repetition.
This is why being an authentic human being is close to impossible in America right now. It isn’t just the politicians who fake it, everyone else does for the most part too.
How do I know?
Because the responses I receive when I talk to people. Hardly anyone is an expert about this politics and economics and medicine stuff. The difference is I freely admit it when I don’t know the answer, whereas the average American believes in faking it, especially on social media. Why bother staying in your on lane? Just fake it till you make it, just like Trump!
Why here’s a thought leader encouraging you to fake it till you make it now!