This week a somewhat abstruse debate about whether America should purposely try to antagonize 1.6 billion Muslims morphed into an impossibly stupid debate about whether the President of the United States really loves the United States.
Meanwhile, in actual news, there’s an absurd lawsuit that threatens to wreak havoc on our health care system.
The Urban Institute projects a victory in the plaintiff’s in the case of King v. Burwell that would result in 8.2 million Americans losing insurance as $340 billion in tax credits and cost-sharing reductions are eliminated over the ten years. Premiums for those buying individual coverage in the 34 affected states would rise up to 35 percent.
So the exact Republicans who have been complaining about about insurance cancellations, not enough people being covered, and premiums being too high are praying for decision that would cancel coverage for millions and raise the uninsured rate in these states by 45 percent.
You may call this rank hypocrisy and vile contempt for fellow Americans. But I actually think it says they love America.
Even if Republicans failed to defeat Obamacare through conventional means and don’t have the votes to repeal it, I don’t see this bald-faced manipulation of the courts as an example of not loving America — even if 9,800 Americans could die each year, because of it. Even if 5 million children could end up uninsured as a result of a bogus Fox News-fever dream attempt to undermine democracy.
They just love it differently. You could say wrongly — but it’s definitely differently.
The fact is we don’t even like each other’s versions of love. Most of us would never want to be loved the way Rudy Giuliani loves someone.
This is because our politics is divided largely upon Daddy issues. Hard-core conservatives come from a Dare to Discipline world where Daddy is always right, the wife obeys the husband, and the child, who was born bad, learns to obey until he’s honored Daddy enough to become Daddy himself.
George Lakoff lays out the contours of this worldview in his fantastic book Don’t Think of an Elephant.
This is why your patriotism was attacked if you even questioned George W. Bush — but it’s your patriotic duty to make memes celebrating how much more manly other world leaders are than Obama.
ISIS’s drive to humiliate the U.S. with the vilest acts of human depravity possible is crack for the conservative brain. A real Daddy wouldn’t let that happen. This proves he’s not Daddy — even if he led America into bombing ISIS half a year ago.
Whenever a Democrat is in the White House, the GOP’s Hamlet syndrome goes into full effect. You’re not our real Daddy because, if you are, everything I understand about the world is wrong.
The other-ing of Obama definitely speaks to racial resentment fed by the fear that Daddy’s nation will be nearly half first-and-second generation immigrants by the middle of the century. But it’s just a more perverse version of what we saw in the hunting and impeachment of Bill Clinton. John F. Kennedy was “Wanted for Treason.” There are still people who swear that Franklin Roosevelt was a secret Jew.
The right didn’t believe any of these presidents “loved” America. But they weren’t so “other” that a former presidential candidate and speaker at the last two Republican conventions would say such a thing in public.
Progressives see America more like a nurturing family. Mom and dad are equal. Children need to be taught responsibility but more importantly they need to be cared for to bring out their innate goodness. You show you love America by caring for as many Americans as you can responsibly can.
(There is no ideology of a moderate. All of us have a “strict-father” view on some issues and a “nurturing family” view on others. And your brain can be altered with enough repetition, which is what Fox News and the awesome conservative mediaplex is all about.)
In the conservative mindset, the state helping you buy health insurance is always wrong. It teaches you weakness and Daddy can’t be weak.
Of course, conservatives have to live in massive denial to justify this belief. Together — through the government — we all help each other buy health insurance through a massive tax break that allows you to receive insurance as a wage without it being taxed like a wage. At $250 billion a year, elimination of this tax break alone would cut our deficit by more than half.
But since it is a tax break – and a tax break we’ve been getting since World War II – it feels natural. Daddy approved. The same is somewhat true for Medicare, even though it’s single-payer. But the truth is Republicans just have to be more coy about wanting to destroy that program since their political power depends entirely on Medicare beneficiaries.
Obamacare is a conservative health reform, which makes Obama’s appropriating it even more of a crisis.That’s Daddy’s! Obama violated order to become president and implement these reforms. Any action Republicans can take to wreck it is justified.
Americans losing health insurance and Americans dying because they cannot afford insurance are acceptable costs to the GOP because they can blame it Obama. And that will prove he’s not Daddy, which again proves he doesn’t love America because if he did, he’d let Daddy run it.
It’s important to get this so you won’t waste your time being offended by it.
Central to the conservative brain is the belief that if you loved America you would be a conservative. It’s a tribal belief of nationalism that thrives on division and doesn’t need evidence to prove it’s the best — which is good because all the evidence shows otherwise.
You’re never going to convince hard-core conservatives that you love America, unless you adopt their exact missionary position to love it. And all you can say is “We love America in a way you’ll probably never understand” and it’s true, no matter who you are.