I can explain why I find it so fascinating: I don’t play online games, I don’t watch sports and I don’t read fiction.
Why would I need to, when this health care debate had it all – strategy, an interesting cast of characters, winners, losers, twists, turns, deception, plot twists – and it all happened in real time.
Hockey has its home-team analysts — “The goalie made an incredible save!” — and it has opposing-team analysts — “The goalie had incredible luck!”.
Well, this debate had MSNBC — “This bill will save lives!” — and Fox News — “This bill will destroy the social fabric of our country!”
It is this daily fix, for this admitted news junkie, that made me follow the health care debate rather than the very real, very tragic plight of the Sudanese because, really, we don’t get a lot of news from that impoverished corner of Africa.
So, the health care debate had to do. It was theatre (to throw in yet another metaphor) with good guys and bad guys.
Being a liberal-minded Canadian, the good guys were the earnest yet hapless Democratic Party and the bad guys were the big-business-loving yet big-government-hating Republicans.
As easy as it was to demonize these mobs that protested health care (and scoff at their mis-spelled signs that make one doubt they really understood the larger issues) it always bothered me that the players were so contrasted.
It was with great pleasure that I finally had a chance to talk to a Tea Party member who was visiting Whitehorse.
He is a retired auto worker who was promised by society that if he earned a good education and worked hard, he would be able to buy a house, a car and health insurance. He did all of that, and he raised a family and he didn’t break any laws.
Yet he is now being asked to pay more taxes so that it can be given to people who don’t work as hard as he did, and don’t live a noble life.
I don’t have to agree with him in order to understand why this makes him angry.
And, when we are angry, we believe many things without first processing it critically.
If I can see shades of grey in the Tea Party, maybe I can find shades of grey with the Democratic Party. Maybe the American liberals really are smug elitists who believe that they know what is best for the unsophisticated population.
Alas, this kumbaya moment has passed me. I just can’t forgive the Republicans and extreme conservative commentators – I’m looking at you, Elisabeth Hasselbeck! — for using genuine, organic concerns of right-leaning Americans to whip them into a frenzy with lies.
It really makes you wonder who is pulling all of the strings in the background.
Aha! Nothing like a good conspiracy theory to spice up this soap opera (yet another metaphor).
Sadly, I think the one thing behind this whole online game/sport/fiction novel/theatre/conspiracy theory/soap opera, is racism.
It is the low-ebb kind of racism of a white population that is slowly losing its majority and now has a black president. They know they are not allowed to attack him directly for being black, but they can attack him for being a socialist. And they can get angry at whatever slight or failing that an all-too-willing lobbyist feeds to them.
I feel ashamed that I had considered it such great entertainment.