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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hyperbolic Overload: Obamacare is Not Apartheid-Nor is it The "N" Word

Regular readers of this site know that the opinion expressed here is that Obamacare is a bad law and represents a government intrusion on the freedom of Americans. But lately the debate on both sides has gone way to far into the realm of hyperbolic overload.

Here are some examples, as reported by Tommy Christopher in Mediaite, Thursday night's O'Reilly Factor saw Rick Santorum comparing Obamacare to apartheid:
Nelson Mandela stood up against a great injustice, and was willing to pay a huge price for that, and that’s the reason he mourned today, because of that struggle that he performed. You are right, what he was advocating for was not necessarily the right answer, but he was fighting against some great injustice. And I would make the argument that, you know, we have a great injustice going on right now in this country, with an ever-increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people’s lives. And Obamacare is front and center in that.
That comparison is way beyond the pale, as bad as Obamacare is, it is not even on the same planet as the horrors of apartheid. But in the same vein, on Sunday Morning, MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry suggested that using the term Obamacare, was the same as using the "N"word. 
I want to talk today about a controversial word. It's a word that has been with us for years. And like it or not, it's indelibly printed in the pages of American history. A word that was originally intended at a derogatory term. Meant to shame and divide and demean. The word was conceived up by a group of wealthy white men who needed a way to put themselves above and apart from a black man, to render him inferior and unequal and diminish his accomplishments. President Obama has been labeled with this word by his opponents, and at first he rose above it, hoping that if he could just make a cause for what he'd achieved, his opponents would fail in making their label stick. But no matter how many successes that he had as president, he realized there were still many people for whom he'd never be anything more than that one disparaging word. A belief he knew was held not just by his political opponents, but also by a significant portion of the American electorate. And so he decided, if you can't beat them, you've got to join them. So he embraced the word and made it his own, sending his opposition a message they weren't expecting. If that's what you want me to be, I’ll be that. Y'all know the word that I’m talking about. Obamacare. That's right. I said it and I’m not ashamed.
 I would call Ms. Harris-Perry's comparison idiotic, just as idiotic as Rick Santorum's.

This is a topic covered here often and perhaps I am oversensitive on the topic. There are certain terms that shouldn't be used to make comparisons, Apartheid, The Holocaust, Slavery, and the Civil Rights Struggle are four that come top of mind. There is nothing that comes close to being comparable to them, even worse when one makes the inappropriate comparison, they dilute the memory of something that should be remembered with horror and disgust.

Martin Bashir deserved to be fired for what he said about Sarah Palin, however if he simply criticized her for a hyperbolic use of the word slavery in the manner above it would have been a reasonable point.

Yesterday I had a discussion with Tommy Christopher, who is seen by many on the right as slightly more evil than the anti-Christ. I disagree with Tommy 99 percent of the time, and believe sometimes his attacks on the right go overboard, but more important than is his politics, Tommy is a decent human being, a good family man and a friend.

Tommy pointed to a tweet by Katie Pavlich who said this about the White House Youth Summit
I know we’re not supposed to make references to Hitler, but the latest move by the White House makes it really hard not to.
Christopher scolded Pavlich:
Your specific misunderstanding was of the trivialization of Nazism.
IMHO Pavlich is amongst the most gifted conservative writers today and I agree that White House Youth Summit is on the creepy side. However, her Hitler youth comment was over the line, very slightly over the line because she didn't refer to the Holocaust or any other of Hitler's atrocities, but over the line nevertheless.

My real problem with Katie's words is that she knew it was an inappropriate analogy but went ahead with it anyway. She started her tweet with "I know we’re not supposed to make references to Hitler, but.." A writer as gifted as Katie should have trusted her instincts and used a different different analogy.

1 comment:

Poor Guy said...

Mandela was a communist, terrorist thug.

He was not a great man.