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Healthcare scare

Let’s be honest here: We haven’t actually read the health care reform plan as proposed by President Obama and his supporters. It’s like 1,000 pages and, frankly, we’re learning all we need to know about it by studying those who oppose it. In Tampa, protesters scuffled to get into the building, already full to capacity. In St. Louis, six were arrested after teabaggers clashed with union laborers. In Texas they made a tombstone for a pro-reform senator, and in Maryland they hung a congressman in effigy. Here in North Carolina, Rep. Brad Miller has had his life threatened by a caller, who may or may not be a constituent, demanding a town hall meeting here that, we assume, would meet the same fate as the rest, one proscribed by Glenn Beck and his ilk on the air and online.

Beck’s website holds clips of town hall meetings in Arkansas, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Colorado all monkeywrenched by groups consisting largely of angry white folks wearing Polo shirts and smarmy smirks.

“Freedom first!” they chant. “Hands off our health!” A confederacy of dunces in league against… well, they’re not exactly sure. Some say that seniors will be euthanized under the plan they have termed “Obamacare.” This is not true, of course, as false as the assertion that, under the proposed plan, people will not be able to keep their doctors or their current plans, or the notion that “socialized medicine” is best left to the pinkos up in Canada when Medicare and Medicaid are alive and well here in the good ol’ USA. Okay, maybe we’ve read a little bit of the plan. The tactics are to propagate fallacious statements about the plan, disrupt any orderly discussion of reform and give the illusion of a vast grassroots movement when, in actuality, these action are driven by well-funded organizations within and ancillary to the GOP like FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity.

As a memo leaked to the website Politico.com would suggest, there is playbook for this disruption. Conservative activist Bob MacGuffie, who writes for the FreedomWorks website and has been an active teabagger, published a mamo called “Rocking the Town Hall — Best Practices” in which he encourages protesters to artificially inflate their numbers, stage “spontaneous” call-and-response eruptions from the audience and shout down intelligent debate. “Aftera couple of these sessions,” MacGuffie advises, “one of the weaker onesmay consider swaying from the party voting line.” So while we haven’tread the whole plan yet — and we will! — for now we are content tochoose whatever side Glenn Beck and Bob MacGuffie and the rest of thisconfederacy of dunces are against. YES!Weekly chooses to exercise its right to express editorial opinion inour publication. In fact we cherish it, considering opinion to be avital component of any publication. The viewpoints expressed representa consensus of the YES! Weekly editorial staff, achieved through muchdeliberation and consideration.

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