Blue: Politicians want you dead


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Columnist Blue writes that ridiculous political rhetoric that suggests opponents’ ill wishes of their constituents is ridiculous, exaggerated and ‘cringe-inducing.’

Brandon Blue

Of all the ridiculous and exaggerated claims foisted upon us by politicians who only have our best interests at heart, none is as cringe-inducing as when a flappy-headed legislator claims their opponents’ plan will kill people.

Perhaps the most obvious example of this is Sarah Palin’s infamous Facebook post from August 7, 2009. In it she claimed that people such as her son, Trig Palin, would “have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide” their value.

Mrs. Palin, using the most mature medium and language imaginable, drove her point home so well that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act never passed. Oh, wait.

Chris Matthews, the last bastion of unadulterated journalistic integrity, stated on his Monday show that “[Republicans] offer a big slash in Medicare, which is going to kill half the people who watch this show.”

Surely this man is rationality’s port in the storm.

You have Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., saying April 7, “In ’94, people were elected simply to come here to kill the National Endowment for the Arts. Now they’re here to kill women.”

Slaughter followed her statement up with the obligatory Nazi reference, stating, “It’s sort of like an old German Nazi movie — ‘Show me your papers.'”

German Nazis, you know, as opposed to the Mongolian ones that we always mix them up with.

Returning to the sore point in our country’s political arena, the debate over the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla.,  claimed September 29, 2009, on the floor of the House of Representatives that “the Republicans want you to die quickly if you get sick,” accompanied by a comically large easel-and-card presentation.

Unsurprisingly, the midterms were unkind to Rep. Grayson.

The sole claim of legislation causing death that I view as having any merit whatever is — get this — Sarah Palin’s. I believe that it is a not unlikely outcome of the bill, because less-hyperbolic yet similar engines already exist in other countries, mainly in Britain, where the creepily-named NICE decides life and death for Mother England’s children.

To so readily and frantically dismiss such allegations merely because Sarah Palin voiced them loudest is unsettling and to me is another column entirely.

But as Jeannie DeAngelis at American Thinker points out that Palin’s conclusion is simply that “a shortage of healthcare money could equal denial of care,” she contrasts that with Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s current “alleging secret motives of an entire political party amounting to purposeful murder.”

This comparison is noteworthy. DeAngelis is well-spoken — or written, in this case — yet she really eviscerates the meat of Palin’s original comment, which painted a picture of death panels reminiscent of the Twilight Zone episode “The Obsolete Man.”

Do I see merit in Palin’s fear? Absolutely. Her comment is a fair one. Yet the way she phrased it is exaggerated and unbelievable — too much so to lend itself any weight.

Yet, with regard to the current issues plaguing our country, the question is this: will Republican policies really kill people?

In terms of the Affordable Care Act, however, the writing’s on the wall; any government body deciding between the efficacy and the cost of a medicine will intrinsically be deciding the fate of a human life at some point down the road.

But is it true that whenever we cut the budget we kill someone?

This issue is, at its core, identical to the budget crisis we recently faced at Iowa State. Two camps emerged in that debate: those who believed legislators would be at fault for tuition hikes and those who believed tuition hikes were the fault of whoever set the university’s budget.

An equally important question I would ask is this: Is it true that whenever we cut the state budget we must raise tuition?

In both cases, it’s simply an issue of posturing. Where is the money going? If we deal with budget cuts correctly, decreasing spending instead of spending at pre-budget cut levels, can we avoid these kinds of outcomes?

Again, my conclusion is a sad but unavoidable truth — there is no simple remedy for the problem. If we want to avoid deaths — or tuition hikes — start slashing salaries. Cut the pork, cut any unnecessary spending. If the federal budget drops and there’s no change in spending, is Congress at fault, or is the problem further down the line?

We’re in a recession, guys. We need to grow up.