No Brains. No Heart. The Tea Party/CNN debate.

I haven’t posted in a long time,  but I have to say something about the audience response to Wolf Blitzer’s question to Ron Paul about health care at the recent debate sponsored by the Tea Party Express on CNN.

The debate is supposed to show the knowledge and character of Republican candidates for President. In this case it also showed the character of some audience members who yelled out, “Yeah!” regarding letting a 30 year old uninsured man die.

Hearing this, and the cheers for Perry’s record for state executions, made my human heart hurt.  My logical Vulcan side wanted to know who these people were who cheered death.

The audience was not huge, some cameras must have been on them. The people admitted to the event were vetted and invited. They have names, so who are these, “Joe and Jim Tea party” people?  What religion are they? Where did they go to school? Are they married? How old are they? Where do they work? What is the health of the people in their family? Have they ever not had health care and gotten serious ill?

When Joe Wilson shouted “You lie!”  at the State of the Union address he got interviewed. Why not interview  at least the two guys who wanted the uninsured to die? CNN and the Tea Party Express obviously know their names, why won’t they release them? Are they afraid of being found out? I think that they would be proud of their shouts. They clearly represent the views of many. Maybe they will end up hosting their own Fox News shows.

I tried to suggest this investigation via twitter.

@spockosbrain I heard 2 men shout, “Yeah!” about letting uninsured 30yr old die. Who are those men? Names pls.  CNN should interview.

Events like this always have one camera on the crowd for crowd shots. It should be a trivial matter for the organizers to link the person to the registered name. These people didn’t get in at random. Maybe I should call CNN and ask for footage and then ask the Tea Party people to give us the names.
These guys probably think they are cool and will own up to their comments. Then we can watch as the right starts to shun them or embrace them.

A friend suggested that by tarring the entire audience with their sick response we can get more people to join us in disgust at the response. If we narrow it down to two people they will be labeled as “a few bad apples” and dismissed as outliers.

That makes sense, but I still want to know about the actual individuals who shouted, “Yeah!” to the suggestion that we let this uninsured guy die. On some blogs the right tried to distance themselves from the shouters by suggesting that they were liberal plants from the CNN side.

Why do I still want to know the names, backgrounds, religion and world view of these men? Because I want to know what attitudes drive their views. Then I want to know if it is possible to push back on those attitudes in an effective way. Are they like Darth Vader, with some good still left in them? Or are they like the Emperor and beyond hope?  Can I help the people around them see the blackness in their heart so they won’t keep hanging with these  people? Or do I write them off as bad people with ugly hearts and work on hastening their financial destruction while making sure normal humans know of their views so they can reject them?

When I showed advertisers of right wing radio shows the horrific comments of the hosts I wanted them to see just how far those hosts were from the stated values of the advertisers.  People I talked to often wanted to know if these hosts believed what they said “in real life”. They suggested they just said these things for money and attention. My response to that was, “I can’t know what they are like in private and if they really believe what they say, but I can know what they say in public; these are their exact words, in context, and those words are horrific. Maybe it makes you feel better to think the hosts go home and don’t believe what they say, but the reality is that their public words are what have the impact, not what they might secretly say or believe in the privacy of their own home.”

One of my favorite people keeps trying to understand the mentality of right wing conservative Republicans, partly because her father is one. At some point she might get enough understanding to provide a satisfying answer, but for me understanding is just the start. What can we DO about it is the next step.

I think it is important to figure out what to do about it because these attitudes have power. They influence policy and programs.  Tens of thousands of people die based on one attitude toward health care vs. another.

Attitudes about what is humane and civilized change over time. Do we move toward greater cruelty and selfishness or to greater compassion? Is compassion toward others subsumed by the only ‘religion’ that seems to matter in America, the bottom line? Is there any other line or score that matters?

If I believe the “Yeah!” guys attitudes are wrong, I need to vigorously work to defeat them and their ideas and let people know there are other ideas that are better, it’s the human thing to do.

Cross posted to FireDogLake

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