Yesterday, in an event sponsored by Representative Michele Bachmann (Republican, MN), hundreds of people came out to protest the current health reform bill. Whether I agree with them or not, it's certainly their right to protest. But, at least in my eyes, they completely invalidated their point when they started making comparisons that were so over the top as to be astonishing.
First we have the, now standard, signs calling Obama a Marxist. Which is amusing since the same groups regularly use signs of Obama as Hitler. It may come as a surprise to some of these individuals, but Hitler was a Fascist and was directly opposed to the Marxist/Communist movement. So, for anyone who's ever watched the History Channel, or just Googled the terms in question, these comparisons come off as what they truly are; a number of ignorant people who grab political terms out of thin air without regard to what any of them actually mean. As long as it evokes an emotional response, that's all they care about. Even if that response is based on misinformation. The saddest thing to me is that it actually works sometimes. Do any of these people ever stop and actually, you know . . . think? Has the intelligence level of the country really dropped this low?
But the one that really got me was this one. A large sign with the title "National Socialist Healthcare. Dachau, Germany 1945" over a picture of the bodies of concentration camp victims, piled like cord wood. Really? Does this make sense to ANYONE?! I'm not sure what angers me most about this. Is it the fact that the inference is exaggeration on a galactic scale? Or is it that they are taking a truly horrific piece of human suffering and death and reducing it to a disagreement on healthcare reform? It is insulting and demeaning to all those who died in these camps. It is a testament to the moral bankruptcy of those who created and cheered this sign. And it highlights a complete lack of understanding of the real world. I am at a loss to understand how anyone could create such a shameful and disrespectful image. Not only does it sicken me that some people actually think this is a legitimate comparison, but it seems to confirm that these people are not intelligent enough to even be allowed in the discussion of real issues. This may be an overreaction, but how can I think otherwise, considering the apparent ignorance involved?
What is the matter with people? It's one thing to want attention for their side of the argument. But when the means they choose are so ridiculously outrageous, how can anyone take them seriously? How can I, or anyone else, engage these people in dialog? There's no common ground, as they have started the argument from a point of lunacy. I can't help but conclude that they don't even care what others think anyway. This sort of protest comes off, not as a demand to have their input considered, but as a demand that you just do what they say. Period. That's not a discussion, that's the kind of overbearing, rule by fiat that they accuse the current administration of. Am I the only one who sees the irony here?