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Kay Hanley Headshot

Lies and Damned Lies

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Just because you yell really loud at your opponent, it doesn't necessarily follow that you are in possession of "truth" or "superior reasoning." In fact, typically it's just the opposite. In my experience, yelling is for people who have lost control of their emotions, usually in anger and/or frustration. The thing about yelling, is that the yeller pretty much loses all credibility the minute they start yelling when the situation doesn't seem to warrant it. I know this because I'm a) a lead singer and, b) a mother.

As a grown up, it is always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to acting out on impulsive feelings of rage when you don't have both sides of the story and thus, don't know what the hell you're talking about. Just ask my manager, Creamer. He could write a book on the subject, having had to deal with me for the last 20 years. (That would be quite entertaining, come to think of it. He should do that!). But he's my manager. I'm supposed to treat him like a lesser form of humanity or a lightening rod for everything bad that's ever happened to me and deserves my wrath when my hotel room is on the 7th floor when I SPECIFICALLY said I wanted the 9th and he needs to know how bad he fucked up RIGHT NOW at 3am via this phone call and by the way who's the jerk who scheduled the in-store at 11 in the fucking morning??!! rental car.

There are different rules for these sorts of things. Anyhoodles......

Look, there are perfectly legitimate reasons to yell at other people, even in public. If some Porsche Cayenne-driving-bitch is texting and applying lipstick in the rearview mirror while simultaneously tailgating you on Ventura right before she rear ends you when you stop at a red light, I think yelling might be a fair reaction. Or if someone threatens to kill your sweet old Grandma, yell away! Do some shoving, even. I won't judge you.

BTW, in order for that last scenario to be relevant, one would have to be entirely certain that Grandma was being threatened. You would have had to witness the threat as opposed to jumping to conclusions based on second hand information. For example, if a neighborhood troublemaker with a flair for hyperbolic drama has a well known grudge against the supposed "Granny Killer" for beating them in "The Best Person Ever" competition last year, and they tell a highly unlikely story about this otherwise reasonable person meaning to do harm to Grandma, one may want to get a bit of clarification before unleashing the crazy.

The key to my point here is assessing a normal emotional response to any given situation, including perceived threats and injustices in order to figure out whether someone is full of shit or not. In the last 2 weeks, I have been seriously puzzled by the behavior of a small but very loud group of Americans who have been called to action by another small but very loud group of right-wing entertainers and agitators (notice I do not say Republicans) to angrily and loudly stamp out any public community discussion of health care reform.

Are there really Americans out there that have been so untouched by the unfairness and sometimes cruelty of for-profit health insurance in our country that they would honestly resort to words like "fascist" and "euthanasia" and even the (unfortunately) de-fanged "HITLER!" at the mere suggestion that we go back to the drawing board for a second? Is this conversation so wrought with peril that some are driven to screaming diatribes and violence against their elected officials and fellow citizens?

Personally, I don't know anyone, nor have I heard of anyone who would say "My health insurance kicks ASS. If I had to change it, I'd be super pissed." The reason for this is that a statement like that would not come out of anyone's mouth. If they were being honest. Here's the thing: Nobody is suggesting that anybody change anything so if you're stoked about your amazing health insurance company then continue to enjoy the hell out that relationship. But unless your health insurance provider is personally administering the happy ending after that therapeutic "massage" or even just paying the bill for the colonoscopy without making you and your doctor fill out forms for 6 months, I think we could all do a little better.

It is worth noting that health care reform is actually a misnomer. Health care in America is provided by the best doctors, nurses and hospitals in the world. What we are actually trying to address is "health insurance reform." For-profit health insurance companies are what stand in between millions of Americans and easy, cheap health care. If you have good insurance now, lucky you. Just make sure you don't lose your job, especially if you have epilepsy, had a mole removed a few years ago or heartburn. Because if that's the case you can go fuck yourself if you try and get private, non-employer based insurance coverage.

Back to the pissed-off people at the town hall meetings. If there were a town hall meeting in my district I would want to attend so that I could argue in favor of health insurance reform. Not to go and make a political point, but to talk about how the relentless drive to increase profits to satisfy shareholders has fundamentally changed how people are able to take care of their health needs. The privatizing of the industry has benefited few but those who stand to profit by unconscionable denials of coverage and refusal to pay legitimate claims. This has affected my family and our financial well being on several occasions. I would want to make an impassioned plea to my elected officials for not only a public option but a single payer system that would be run by the government. Yes, I would want to argue the merits of the dreaded socialized medicine.

I care about this issue a lot and if my one chance to speak to my representatives face to face was shot down by a bunch of screaming people that were bussed in from Rancho Cucamonga, I'd be pretty unhappy. To put it mildly.

I wrote about my own shitty health insurance experience here, but since writing that essay, my daughter was diagnosed with petit mal seizures, a condition which is not dangerous but one for which she will take medication for a few years. Under our current for-profit health insurance system she will not be able to obtain private insurance because of this pre-existing condition. My son, who nearly died in infancy of a respiratory virus, is in the same boat. Sorry, Mr. Hannity, Mr. Levin and that other guy with the doughy face who's always hysterical and weeping, personal responsibility does not apply here.

But even if it did, so what? When was the last time Dick Cheney or Rush Limbaugh quit smoking cigars, ran a fucking marathon and ate nothing but fish and vegetables? Oh, wait. They don't need to. They are both rich and have health insurance that neither is in danger of losing. So if you smoke, eat McDonald's, don't go to the gym and lose your job, that's your problem, fatass. You should've thought of your personal responsibility to live up to a different standard than the rich blowhards convincing/scaring you to work against your own self interests before your fat middle class ass became uninsurable, loser.

This post originally appeared at kayhanley.com