|A Facebook status update with these words broke my record for responses. I fancied it up with a meme generator for use here.|
The other day when the House Repugnant rammed through their cherished “Obamacare Repeal and Replace” by a one vote margin and then erupted in joyous celebration as if they had just won the World Series, I was furious. Apparently I was not alone. I posted the following status update to my Facebook timeline: “Pricing tar pots, feathers, rails, and pitchforks. Who’s in?” Over the last three days it has shattered a personal record 117 likes, loves, and laughs and generated over 50 comments, all of them enthusiastic and including offers to build a guillotine and supply gasoline for a bon fire. True, I gussied up the post using the new Facebook feature of picking a colored background and bolding the text in white letters, but I doubt if mere marketing—a less decorative link to a Twitter version generated an additions 24 responses.
My old Shimer College pal Maria Sosa reported on the morning of May 4, “When I opened up FB on my phone just now I had 122 notifications!!!!!” Of course they were all about the health care stab in the back. In fact outrage damn near broke social media and has barely let up.
|Republicans and the Cheeto in Charge smuggly rejoice at depriving millions of Americans of health care. It will be remembered.|
None of the Trump era outrages which have already sent millions into the streets on a regular basis, have matched the response to this. After all, this is an act that gores all oxen. Palpable harm to individuals and families is nearly universal to all who are not insulated by great personal wealth and political power. The emerging details are stunning in their sweep.
· Insurance companies would be free to reinstate restrictions on a long laundry list of “pre-existing conditions” everything from acid reflux and acne to tuberculosis and ulcers. A minimum of half of all Americans have one or more in their medical records—probably many more. Millions could lose coverage.
· Life-time caps on coverage are reauthorized, which will bankrupt many with chronic illness or expensive procedures.
· Persons over 50 can be charged three times as much for coverage as young people.
· Companies will be allowed to offer stripped down policies with high deductibles that cover so little such plans have been called phony insurance and fraudulent scams.
· In a little noticed provision snuck into the bill, large corporations are relieved of the requirement that they offer any health care coverage at all.
And that just scratches the surface of the cabinet of horrors.
Some pundits have smugly proclaimed that the universal rebellion brewing is a triumph over “identity politics” by which they mean the cheeky complaints of minorities and despised populations. It is true that the stereotypical Trump voter—poorly educated older Whites who have been economically displaced and nurse racial and cultural resentments—would be very hard hit by the bill which many are slowly coming to realize.
|Protests against Republican healthcare atrocities spread across the country.|
But the bill is also tough on—and often worse for those engaged in identity politics—women find that childbirth, rape, and domestic abuse are all allowable pre-existing conditions; the LBGT communities find that so is HIV/AIDS and transgender identification and life time caps mean the end of life-saving AIDS drug treatments; mental illness and drug addiction are excluded; Blacks and other minorities were already sicker and more at risk for serious health problems due to limited health care access even under the Affordable Care Act and are now thrown to the wolves.
Of course, that is exactly as intended. It fits the ideology of Randist libertarians who refuse to accept financial responsibility for anyone but themselves and regard poor as undeserving lazy losers and themselves as god like heroes and of the Religious Right represented by Vice President Mike Pence who believe that illness, poverty, and simply being a woman are all just punishment by God for “unclean and impure lives.” As one Congressman put it, “Good people don’t need insurance, they are protected by God.”
So no, we can’t ignore identity politics—we do have to learn to effectively unite in common resistance.
The only difference between the first reactions of shock, rage, and despair and now is that many of the newer posts are openly plotting revenge on Republican lawmakers with plans to work to oust them in the 2018 elections, flood the Senate with messages to defeat the House bill, and many actions in the streets. Reaction as the range of disastrous consequences of the bill became widely known has been so overwhelmingly irate that many pundits believe the Tea Party/Trumpista GOP will lose its House majority despite the gerrymandering that should have made that impossible.
Demonstrations erupted almost immediately in front of the Capitol building and White House and in cities across the country. Now as Congress comes home on recess hundreds of actions are planned in almost every Republican held Congressional district. They are being organized spontaneously by ad hoc groups out outraged citizens, by health care professionals and groups who advocate for various conditions and ailments, both regular Democrats and outsider progressives, feminists and minority communities.
|Randy Hultrgen's District office at 1500 South Rt. 31 in McHenry in the American Community Bank building has lots of room on a busy road for a Die-In.|
Many actions are being inspired and planned by local groups inspired by the Indivisible Movement to Resist Trump’s Agenda which published a popular guide to effective action and resistance by some former Congressional staffers. Indivisible Illinois 14 is just one of scores of groups organized by Congressional Districts. They aim to challenge and ultimately unseat Congressman Randy Hultgren from his suburban and Collar County District. Hultgren may be among the most endangered Republicans. He particularly angered his constitutions by cloaking his intentions about the bill, even hinting that he might be open to opposing it if he got enough negative feedback from his district. Of course he got plenty of negative feedback—his phone lines were flooded for weeks and demonstrations were held outside his local offices. In the end he did what most expected—dutifully toed the Party line.
In response Indivisible Illinois 14 is planning a Die-Ins at Hultgren’s district office 1500 South Route 31 in McHenry from 4:30 pm to dusk on Thursday, May 11. Here is what they say in their call:
Resistors! Get ready! We are going to welcome Randy (and surrogate Nick) home from recess next week with a "Die-in" at his office in McHenry.
Route 31 is very busy, there is a nice berm where our "corpses" can be well seen by all the passersby.
Our corpses will represent some of the more than 22,000 people that will die due to Trumpcare. Corpses will wear signs indicating their pre-existing sin that has sentenced them to death. We will have and you can bring signs that talk about this monstrosity of a bill.
|A Die-In at the offices of Minnesota Republican Jason Lewis. We can turn up many more dead.|
And the rest of you look for actions where you live. They won’t be hard to find.