This is just a small, nagging thing that’s been bothering me about the healthcare debate.
Politics 101 says that when you’re discussing something, you use actual stories to stress the importance of the position. It’s why McCain latched onto Joe the Plumber, it’s why we are all faking injuries in a wheelchair, it’s why even your City Councilperson has a story of some random barber he talked to who wants to see parking citations enforced more stringently. Real people contextualize political messages in ways that politicians simply can’t.
When Teabag Joe and Jane show up at a health care town hall, they garner sympathy because they look like a regular frustrated person. Whatever their message is, it gains credibility because they’re not a career politician, they’re wearing shoes that don’t match their pants, and they seem genuinely angry about something. And in a debate about our personal health, that goes a long way. And this makes me wonder – why has nobody in the vaunted Obama operation, nobody holding any of these town halls, tried to contextualize their positions by using actual real people who want or need universal health insurance? Michael Moore found a bunch of people – sympathetic people – and I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but he’s fat.
It’s time to stop playing softball and pretending that Nancy Pelosi sternly calling Loud Voice Sammy un-American is going to do anything but make her look like an asshole. There are millions upon millions of people who have no insurance, who’ve been screwed over by insurance companies, who have insurance but don’t have the things they need it for covered. Put them on television. Invite them to the stage. Make the person who thinks that there’s something to all this anger realize that they’re not just getting angry at Claire McCaskill, but they’re getting angry at their neighbor who can’t get health insurance because they had a melanoma five years ago, or the parents who are tens of thousands of dollars in debt because their child had the misfortune to have bad genes.
The Chicago way says that if they pull a knife, you pull a gun. We’re doing this a different way – they pull a knife, you let everyone in the room know they’re pulling a knife on a cancer victim who tutors orphans in between chemo sessions. And then you pull a gun.