Thursday, March 27, 2014


From the Raw Story:

Koch Bros. group leader: Extending Obamacare deadline takes health care from my children

MSNBC host Chris Hayes clashed with a state official for the Koch Brothers-funded group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) on Wednesday after she claimed that extending the deadline to sign up for the Affordable Care Act by two weeks would have a negative impact on her childrens’ health care.

“It continues to not allow people to go back and change this law,” AFP Pennsylvania State Director Jennifer Stefano told Hayes. “This law has made seven million people lose their insurance.”

As Reuters reported earlier in the day, the deadline to sign up for Obamacare, as the law is commonly known, was extended until April 15 for people who have already begun the subscription process through the website. As of March 17, more than 5 million people had signed up for coverage.

More here, with video.

I should count myself among the very lucky.  The vast majority of political debates I get into with conservatives on facebook do NOT play out like this one.  Indeed, what's particularly great about my conservative commenters is that they make a clear effort to listen to and consider what I'm saying.  I mean, sure, they rarely agree with me, but because I make a similar effort to hear what they're saying I usually walk away from such discussions feeling like everybody's had a genuine exchange of ideas, and that we're all better off for it.

So I'm lucky.  I don't personally have to put up with much of this crap.  But it's really sad for our republic that so much public discourse has devolved to this level of reality television shout-fests.  I mean, of course, it works both ways; I'm not simply calling out conservatives here.  I've experienced angry liberals treating right-wingers, and sometimes me when I diverge from the popular liberal consensus, in the exact same manner--although, to be fair, and speaking of television, I have to say that you see a lot more of this on Fox, the total incoherency of argument, the shout-downs, the bullying, than you do with MSNBC, but in the real world it's Americans from all points on the political spectrum.

And that's disturbing.  

This fairly recent phenomenon, rhetorical bullying disguised as discussion, has served well to crowd out a lot of actual discussion.  Which means that whatever "marketplace of ideas" this country once had, without which there can be no democracy, may very well have become so diminished as to no longer be effective.  We really must figure out how to start talking to one another again.  The nation's fate really does hang in the balance.