Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has adopted a brazen approach to countering Pres. Barack Obama’s proposed healthcare reforms: outright fabrication and unscrupulous lying. She has begun to make the 100% false allegation that Pres. Obama’s reforms would create a “death panel” tasked with promoting euthanasia, and she is now calling reform “downright evil”. It is perhaps the single most irresponsible and reprehensible lie told in the American political sphere in recent years.
Palin even chose to use her infant son as a prop in her smear campaign, suggesting that Obama’s “bureaucrats” would use the fictional “death panel” to have children like her son —who has Down’s Syndrome— euthanized. Despite having repeatedly accused “the media” of using her children to attack her, she has once again used her children to attack someone else, and she has done so, as on other occasions, by using them to support false claims.
Palin wrote in a Facebook posting that:
The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care.
There is not one word in any of the reforms proposed by four separate committees in the two Houses of Congress devoted to contemplating such a plan. There is no “death panel”, there is no plan to explore or to promote euthanasia. Either Sarah Palin herself has fabricated this disgusting lie, or she is parroting something she heard somewhere else and cared not enough to investigate.
What’s more, the language of her lies revives the rhetorical strategy she used last summer and fall, when angry crowds began chanting “kill him” in reference to Barack Obama, because she had spread the lie that he was “palling around with terrorists” and that he hated America. Her use of the word “evil” to describe reforms that are designed to save lives and rescue millions of families from the persistent threat of bankruptcy is a sign that she is willing to slander and libel opponents with totally false claims, even to the point of callous indifference as to the negative impact it might have on real people.
While Pres. Obama did not mention Palin herself, he used his weekly address to counter the smears and explain what healthcare reform entails. Countering the lies, Obama said:
… let me start by dispelling the outlandish rumors that reform will promote euthanasia, cut Medicaid, or bring about a government takeover of health care. That’s simply not true. This isn’t about putting government in charge of your health insurance; it’s about putting you in charge of your health insurance.
Obama sought to remind the public that such “outlandish rumors” and “absurd attacks” are nothing more than cynical politicking, luring Palin and others to entrap themselves by continuing and exaggerating the practice of focusing on crazed language rooted in lies and personal political interest, while serious people do the work of trying to help average Americans.
Specifically, Obama rounded out his weekly address, saying:
There are those who are focused on the so-called politics of health care; who are trying to exploit differences or concerns for political gain. That’s to be expected. That’s Washington. But let’s never forget that this isn’t about politics. This is about people’s lives. This is about people’s businesses. This is about America’s future. That’s what is at stake.
Obama will not dignify Palin’s smear campaign with a personal mention or with the most direct language possible, but anyone not in such high elective office who cares about this country, or about the future of its democracy and the well-being of its people, must: Sarah Palin is a liar who is willing to sabotage plans to save tens of thousands of lives through meaningful, pragmatic, market-based reform, by sowing terror among the public and seeking to promote the idea that the country is being run by some with an “evil” agenda.
Her rhetoric is so far out of bounds, it is almost unethical to repeat any part of it in any way, but in the interests of countering the lies, her remarks need to be taken note of, deconstructed and consigned to the dustbin of shameless attempts at character assassination. The fact is, for millions of people whose children have health problems or disabilities, the reforms currently under consideration are the ONLY hope they have of receiving best quality care.
Sarah Palin’s unscrupulous fabrications and hate-mongering are specifically engineered to stop that laudable goal from being achieved. Her compulsive use of fear-linked apocalyptic rhetoric and false claims to attack her political opponents is an insidious and unpatriotic attempt to sabotage work that is being done on behalf of real people whose lives and livelihoods are directly threatened by a failing system.
Sarah Palin is the one who is engaging in rhetorical terror; Sarah Palin is the one who is actively trying to sow fear in the mind of the most radical supporters that the president of the United States is their enemy; Sarah Palin is the one who is using her children as props in a propaganda campaign with no ties whatsoever to the truth of the world; Sarah Palin is the one inviting those who do research or who have moral fiber in their character to dismantle, disprove and cast off her arguments as the rantings of an empty Machiavellian soul.
She would say, we can be sure, that calling her evil for inventing vile lies about someone working for the good of the people would be to cross a line. So let’s not cross any lines; let’s not blur any lines. Let’s just say that Sarah Palin was once governor of Alaska, that she struggles with the basic syntax of American English, that she refuses to stop using her children as props, that she routinely demonstrates a near total lack of precise knowledge about political issues, and that she lies, openly, constantly, and with malicious intent.
Those are the sad facts of a young rising star who doesn’t seem to know what it is to take the high road, what it means to be above the slime and filth that infect politics wherever the worst instincts of the uninformed or the vengeful might intervene. She could have been a contender, if only she knew how to adhere to principle and speak in noble truths; but she has cast her lot on playing the “pit bull” role, and now she seems chained to the lies, unable to speak the truth.