I was inspired by paddykraska's diary, One Foxified Friend At A Time, to repost a lengthy Facebook exchange I had with a right-wing cousin of mine (who also happens to be an ultra-militant pro-Israel supporter; to her, the IDF can do no wrong).
I've edited it to remove all third parties (ie, other friends/family who might have chimed in), as well as our real names, but otherwise it's pretty much verbatim from this afternoon:
MY COUSIN: Obama is a liar (again), and we were just given the largest tax increase in history. Lovely. I can't WAIT until November.
BRAINWRAP:: (sigh) do you have health insurance of any sort? Yes? Then guess what, no, your taxes haven't gone up a dime.
Also, it wasn't the administration which decided it should be defined as a tax, it was the SCOTUS. You know, the Conservative-leaning SCOTUS, whose chief justice was appointed by hard-right Republican George W. Bush.
In addition, you DO realize that this plan was written by the HERITAGE INSTITUTE and was supported by NEWT GINGRICH and MITT ROMNEY, who pushed for the EXACT SAME PLAN INCLUDING THE MANDATE in Massachusetts, right?
It was a moderate REPUBLICAN plan right up until the black dude took office, when it suddenly became KenyanMuslimSocialism.11 hours ago
MY COUSIN: First of all, I don't have health insurance (thanks for assuming) and I prefer to choose whether to have it or not. I may not have much of it, but it's still MY money.
The Obama administration tried passing it and claiming it was not a tax. I am SURE that Obama, who taught Constitutional Law, knew better (as I did even just being a mere student of it) and lied to us about it.
The Constitution provides for taxes, true. But just because something is found to be constitutional by SCOTUS doesn't mean it's right (Dred Scott, anyone?) or should be imposed as a burden.
Further, people who voted for this law insisted it was not a tax. Either they didn't believe it was a tax (and were deceived or didn't know better) or lied to us, regardless of party. Either way, what a crock!
One, there's a difference between state and federal. Two, I don't appreciate the accusation of racism. What is it always the Dems who bring up the race card?? For the record, it's OBAMA I can't stand. Rep. Alan West would be a great choice and I'd campaign for him because of his policies, not his color.
BRAINWRAP:: The whole point of the mandate is to prevent people in your own situation from taking advantage of the system--ie, from waiting until you ARE sick and signing up for insurance at the last minute, thus jacking up rates for the rest of us.
Romney stated point-blank in earlier interviews (back when he was touting Romneycare as a great thing) that he felt it was a perfect model for the entire country. He only changed his stance when Obama adopted it nationally, as Romney suggested.
As for the "implication" that you're racist, if that's what you think I'm saying, there's nothing I can do about it. I'm not saying that you personally are, but the modern GOP sure as hell seems to be filled with them. Let me ask you this: Why is it that no one has ever asked to see Mitt Romney's birth certificate? After all, his father was born in Mexico, just as Obama's father was Kenyan. How about John McCain? He was born on a military base in Panama--there was quite a bit of debate at one time as to whether that "counts" as "native born" or not. Yet I don't remember anyone giving two shits about his birth certificate when he ran.
When I hear accusations that a guy born in Hawaii was actually born in Kenya; when I hear claims that a guy who got into a shitload of trouble over his 20 year membership in a CHRISTIAN church (remember Rev. Wright?) is actually a Muslim; when I hear claims that a President who LOWERED TAXES for most people is actually raising them; when I hear claims that a President who enacts moderate REPUBLICAN policies is actually a Socialist, when the ONLY difference between him and other Presidents is his race (not his party--even Bill Clinton wasn't reviled as much as Obama, and he really did RAISE taxes)...then, call me crazy, but yes, what I really hear is "black guy in the white house".
MY COUSIN: This is NOT a solution. I wonder what the arguments were, and if the argument was that it was a tax or not. There's no way the States (or I) can afford this.
I know someone who used to work for an insurance company and her job was to go visit patients in the hospital and VALUE their life to see what their lives were worth. Now that our money will be stretched even thinner, it's going to be even worse.
If this were not a tax, it would be completely unconstitutional. That should tell us something about this mandate. Also note that Roberts said it was a tax... whether it was just OR NOT.
BRAINWRAP:: Oh, and having said all of this...I DO oppose the mandate myself. The only reason I grudgingly accept it is because without it, the rest of the bill basically falls apart. The bill is a mess, but ultimately it does considerably more good than harm, which is why I support it.
, since you admitted that you don't currently have insurance, I truly do hope that you never develop a pre-existing condition, because if you ever do--and this bill is ever repealed--then guess what? You wouldn't be able to get insurance from the moment that it's diagnosed.
You'd be stuck with either having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for absurdly expensive treatments...or dying. It really is that simple.
MY COUSIN: I am SICK and TIRED of being called a racist just because I am not a Democrat. And just because I am opposed to paying for other people's crap doesn't even necessarily make me a Republican... I do NOT want other people to pay for my crap either. I do everything I can to take responsibility for my own life, as everyone should. The government keeps kowtowing to people and babying them. It is NOT the government's job to take care of their citizens and "taxing" them for their own good.
If Obama and ObamaCare supporters kept arguing repeatedly (and they did) that this was NOT a tax, then this shouldn't have even been proposed to the SCOTUS as such, and it should not have been found to be one. Without it being a tax, this is so entirely unconstitutional, it's not even funny. And once again, I will emphasize that Constitutional Law professor Obama must have KNOWN that this was a tax and so lied to us on National TV when he claimed over and over and over that it wasn't (in case you're wondering what a tax is, check Merriam-Webster's Dictionary). He's a LIAR.
BRAINWRAP:: No one has called you a racist. I said that the modern Republican Party happens to have an extremely high percentage of racists. Perhaps you're part of that minority that isn't. Or, perhaps you're not a Republican at all, in which case my points shouldn't bother you whatsoever.
And yes, you do want other people to pay for your crap. You attended a public high school. You went to a public university. You drive on publicly-funded roads, stop at publicly-funded stoplights, and are protected by publicly-funded police and fire departments. If your parents have ever paid for a single dime of your expenses since the time you turned 18 (and perhaps they didn't...not assuming anything here), then "other people paid for your crap". You're defended by a publicly-funded military, which, by the way, offers every member publicly-funded healthcare (a little something called the VA, should we take that away too?).
MY COUSIN: I'm glad to hear you oppose the mandate, but I really don't see how having something so much of a "mess" is okay as a law that effects every single American.
This is not constitutional (except as a tax). Again, I don't care WHICH party is behind it. I am now being forced to pay for other people's crap and other people are being forced to pay for mine. BTW, who here has actually READ all 2,000+ pages of this bill? I have only read bits and pieces, and let me tell you... It's SCARY.
BRAINWRAP:: How much foreign aid does the U.S. provide Israel? Oh, that's right--that's publicly funded. Next time you take a flight, remember that the FAA makes sure that your plane doesn't crash into another one. Publicly funded.
Is public funding the answer to everything? Of course not. Example: Open municipal Wi-Fi networks have proven to be one area where the private sector (free wi-fi at McDonalds/Starbucks/etc) has filled in the gap nicely, while publicly-funded networks have failed for one reason or another.
However, trying to claim that you're a self-sustaining, independent, I'm-my-own-woman-no-one-pays-my-way-for-me type is nonsense, because we ALL depend on each other. It's called CIVILIZATION, and without it, the human race would have been wiped out long ago.
And speaking of wi-fi, take a WILD GUESS who developed the F*CKING INTERNET? Oh, that's right--DARPA, aks the Defense Department's Advanced Research Project Agency (publicly funded), in conjunction with, for the most part, publicly-funded universities such as the University of California at Berkeley (with an assist from private companies such as AT&T, of course).
Without which, there would be NO internet, therefore NO web, therefore NO Facebook, therefore we wouldn't even be having this conversation.
MY COUSIN: I don't even know where to start.... Forgive me if I'm out of order.
1) The VA and the services provided by that organization was earned with the blood and lives of our soldiers and their families. The government is responsible for the SAFETY of its citizens - that is its number one priority. For us to pay for our military is understandable.
2) As for the modern Republican party being mostly racist... do you KNOW most of the individuals in the Republican party? And yes, whether I'm Republican or not, it intensely bothers me that one group is accusing another group of racism when there's no proof.
3) I agree there's a time and place for public funding. This isn't it. There is a time and a place where people must rely on each other for assistance. SCOTUS found this to be a tax, and as such, it is legal, but it's not necessarily appropriate. It is appropriate for individuals to do what they can to support themselves and their loved ones. It is NOT appropriate for a governmental body to mandate our individual actions.
The health care system is not perfect, and it does need a lot of fixing. This is not the way to do it.
BRAINWRAP:: Really? It's not appropriate for the government to mandate our individual actions?
How about murder, rape, armed robbery, drunk driving, domestic assault?
And no, I didn't say that the GOP is "mostly" racist, I said it has an "extremely high percentage" of racists. I don't know what that percentage is. Perhaps it's 1%, which is still too fucking high for any party to openly embrace, which they do. Or, perhaps it is more than 50%. Hard to say. I do know that any party which openly discriminates against gays and Muslims as a matter of party platform is racist (OK, anti-Semitic and homophobic, to be precise) as a matter of definition.
MY COUSIN: Maybe I need to go back to math class because at no time did I learn that "extremely high percentage" means 1%. I like your backpedaling... If you're going to call someone a racist, I'd use individual names. It's more believable and doesn't make you seem unreasonable.
Again, the government is responsible for our safety. That means making laws against criminal behavior as well as the safety of our country as a whole. I don't know how else to explain this. My health is not the federal government's business. Nor is what I do in my bedroom or with whom I do it.
BRAINWRAP:: Even 1% is extremely high when it comes to racism, but that's just me. But I'm not backpedaling. I suspect that well over half of currently registered Republicans are, indeed, racist--if only because every year, more and more moderate, non-racist Republicans are leaving the party. They aren't becoming Democrats, they're just abandoning the GOP itself because of disgust with what it's become.
As for your health and your sex life not being the government's business, I guess you vote only for pro-choice, pro-same sex marriage candidates, then? GOOD FOR YOU! Try finding one in the GOP these days (at least, one that can make it past the primaries, anyway).
MY COUSIN: You frustrate the hell out of me as well because you seem to know everything and what is best for this country and for me. I actually don't FOX all that often. I came to these conclusions all by myself and based them on experience, knowledge, law school, and education. Another assumption flushed down the toilet. You don't seem to know me at all.
BRAINWRAP:: (sigh) Apparently I don't.