It really seems that a lot of these people protesting Obama's call for health care reform are opposed to government-run health care without realizing that they themselves are on government-run health care which they don't want tampered with.
It's not surprising. For near 30 years, the right wing has bombarded the citizenry with a simple-to-understand, but not-necessarily-true slogan — i.e., government is bad.
Of course, government doesn't have to be bad. I'll kick it to Toby Ziegler for this one:
Still, so many of our oldest citizens have ingested the message that government doing things is bad.
In fact, by some measures, the elderly have the most skeptical views of government. For instance, in the latest version of the Pew values survey, 64 percent of those over 65 — who are either on Medicare and Social Security or know that they will be soon — said that "when something is run by the government, it is usually inefficient and wasteful" (see page 34 here). That compares to only 43 percent of those age 18 to 29.
Yet Medicare and Social Security are two of the most efficient and beneficial government programs in the history of our country.
You would think there would be cognitive dissonance. But is there? No.
So I think that we should do at these townhall meetings is have a show of hands. If these cranky vets and elderly people who turn up to protest don't want government having anything to do with health care, they should raise their hand. Someone at the meeting take down their names, and social security numbers, and put them in a database. They'll receive no veteran's benefits, no social security benefits, no Medicare, no Medicaid. And they can deal with the insurance companies individually and on their own.
Let's see how they like them apples.