It’s hard enough to persuade people they’re wrong about something when how they make their money depends on their being right. It’s damn near impossible when, never mind their net worth, their sense of self-worth is tied up in it. Vanity, ego, and pride make people impervious to reason. An argument against something they believe to be true strikes them as an argument that they should stop believing in themselves, as if, if what they believe isn’t real, then they aren’t real.
We all react like this from time to time. Try convincing a friend his favorite movie stinks. It’s why people kill each other over parking spaces. It’s human.
And Republicans are only human.
I know. They don’t often act it these days.
Tom Toles captures the cynicism of many Republican politicians whose greatest fear about Obamacare is being realized---it’s working. They’ve never wanted to work, they’ve done their utmost to sabotage it, and they’ve been pretty honest about why.
They don’t need it and neither do the rich people they work for and they don’t want to pay for something that doesn’t put money in their pockets.
They don’t want to pay for anything, not even the wars they like to start for fun and profit. But they especially don’t like paying for anything the helps THEM.
THEM being the rest of us.
If people get to like it, get to like not having to worry about not having health insurance, like being able to go to the doctor and being able to take their kids to the doctor, like not being terrified that illness or injury will bankrupt them, then it will be as near impossible to repeal the ACA as it is Social Security and Medicare.
They’re not quite so honest about the other reason they hate Obamacare and want to repeal it.
It takes some of the power to terrify and bully employees away from the owners and bosses.
Oh, they make noises about the evils of fostering a culture of dependency. But what they’re really afraid of is independency.
Workers who aren’t afraid of losing their health insurance aren’t as afraid of losing their jobs.
But most Republicans in Congress and in the state houses and legislatures as well as a critical mass of the base are true believers. They simply have a near religious faith that Obamacare doesn’t work. It can’t work because no government programs work. No evidence or logic will convince them otherwise. You might as well argue that there is no God.
The government is incompetent. Look at the DMV. Look at the Post Office.
Both of which work, actually, but never mind. Look at Medicare. Look at Social Security.
Those don’t work either. They’re going bankrupt!
This is a very convenient belief. It gets them out of having to admit that what they really hate about government programs is they’re based on the idea that we’re all in this together and so it’s our job to help each other out by, at the very least, chipping in to pay for things.
This is beyond a fundamental conservative belief. It is a defining trait of the conservative soul. At its least heartless it’s best expressed as “I got my own problems, bub.” Mainly, though, it’s “I got mine, you go suff.”
To the degree the conservative argument isn’t based on heartlessness and greed---“I don’t give a damn about your troubles and I’m certainly not going to fork over any of my money to help you out of them.”---it’s based on vanity.
Never mind the evidence, Obamacare isn’t working. It isn’t working because they know it can’t work. And they know it because they know it. If they know something, it must be true, because they are good people and good people are never wrong. If Obamacare works, then they’re wrong, and if they’re wrong about that, then maybe they’re wrong about other things too, and if they’re wrong about all those things, then maybe they’re wrong about everything. Maybe they’re wrong, not as in thinking something that’s incorrect is correct, but as in they are in the wrong, that is, guilty of moral errors and not good people. That can’t be! They know they’re good. And being good they must be right, therefore Obamacare isn’t working.
The argument in their heads keeps circling around that point. It’s existential. Obamacare’s success is a negation of their sense of self.
They’re that way about every progressive cause and success. Civil Rights, women’s liberation, abortion, birth control, the sexual revolution, environmental protection, taxes, the regulation of businesses, marriage equality. The past fifty years have been one long argument that the world doesn’t work the way they believe it should work---by revolving around them and reflecting their self-image and going on from day to day as if they are as good and wonderful and right as they believe themselves to be. Instead it’s been going on from day to day not only as if they’re wrong but as if they don’t matter. As if they might as well not exist. As if they don’t exist.
Obamacare is one more nail in the coffin of their murdered vanity.
And that’s why they would rather people let die rather than admit the ACA is succeeding.
You’re sick? You’re out of work or your employer doesn’t offer health insurance? You’ve been able to see the doctor, get treatment, buy medicine thanks to Obamacare? You’re the enemy.
Your surviving is their existential undoing. They die a little to themselves every day you live.
That’s why Obamacare care has to go and you along with it.
It’s them or you.
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