Do you remember when Bush used the bogus threat of weapons of mass destruction and the specter of nuclear annihilation to take us into war with Iraq? Do you remember when the McCain campaign tried to garner support with their deplorable "tribute" to 9/11 at the Republican National Convention, forcing us to relive once again the horrifying collapse of the World Trade Center? And do you remember when Palin incited crowds to the brink of violence with her recurring smear against Obama, accusing him repeatedly of "palling around with terrorists," as if he were in league with Osama bin Laden himself? In a series of earlier blog posts, I claimed that Bush, McCain, and Palin used such tactics to reanimate the feelings of vulnerability and terror spawned by the collective trauma of 9/11 and then, in turn, exploited these feelings in an effort to keep us under the spell of their ideological agendas.
Well, here we go again. Right-wing extremists and corporate propagandists are once again trying to incite the dread of collective retraumatization, seeking to exploit such dread in their attempt to obstruct President Obama's plan for health-care reform. This time they are really outdoing themselves, reaching back not just to 9/11 but to the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust, accusing Obama of planning death panels and the genocidal slaughter of elderly Americans, and of bearing a likeness to Adolf Hitler. It is a terrible and frightening irony that these right-wing ideologues and terror-mongers are now using the imagery of Nazi atrocities in an attempt to distort and blockade a benign and humanitarian movement like health-care reform. The destructiveness wrought in the name of ideology is an all-too-human characteristic that runs like a lamentable red thread throughout the course of human history. Will we never learn?