When Florida Congressman Alan Grayson called America’s level of uninsured people a “holocaust,” he did more than touch a few nerves.
Taking the inability or unwillingness of millions of Americans without health insurance and planting in many the imagery of the systematic deaths of over 10 million people in the 1940s, Congressman Grayson made a statement that was far beyond the line. However, considering the rhetoric used in modern politics, it is hardly a surprising analogy.
Coupled with these terms are always the inevitable parallels to World War II. “The Good War” is always selected as the morality tale on behalf of every modern day intervention, be it domestic or foreign. For example, Moammar Gaddhafi, Slobodan Milosevic, and Saddam Hussein have all been tagged “the second Hitler” making Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at least the fifth Hitler by this count.
All of these criminals have been labeled a “Hitler” at one point or another and, of course, “second Holocaust” usually follows shortly thereafter.
These images to World War II, Hitler, and the Holocaust are always convenient in making a political point, often out of desperation. No one in polite society would say that they disagree with the outcome of World War II, think Hitler was just misunderstood, or that the Holocaust was a good event that should be commemorated on the church calendar. No. Those three are the greatest consensuses in the western world.
Since nobody thinks the Holocaust was good, who would dare oppose anything when the alternative would be a “holocaust”? Don’t want a holocaust? Well, we’d better pass this health care legislation. Don’t want a holocaust? We’d better take out Saddam Hussein. Don’t want a second Holocaust? Then you know what we should do with Ahmadeinjad.
Likewise, recent news that the Iranians have an underground nuclear facility near the city of Qom, southwest of Tehran, has elicited the usual catcalls of “appeasement” and the necessity of regime change or sanctions in Iran.
Not satisfied with only having wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, neoconservatives and warmongers in both parties are anxious to begin the bombing of Iran over weapons no one can say with any certainty that they have.
A lot of people were convinced that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that could hit either the U.S. or Israel. Nothing of the sort was found and Iraq proved to be far weaker that we suspected. As for Israel, their actions in Lebanon in 2006 and Palestine last year should prove that they are more than capable of defending themselves. Plus, whether Iran would be able to hit Israel should be immaterial to America. Israel’s security is Israel’s responsibility.
But it’s the specter of “holocaust” that is meant to fill Americans’ minds with images of destruction, carnage, and total death, whether there is evidence to justify the illustration or not.
The same is true with Congressman Grayson. There is no evidence to suggest that unless there is a “public option” or universal health care that people will just die by the thousands. Likewise, there is no evidence that Iran is using this new facility in Qom to build a bomb to drop on Israel. But the holocaust plea is issued when its users know their case is weak.
The public option and the road to universal health care in the short term is dying. Countless charges of racism against opponents of government sponsored health care have rendered any hope of meaningful or bipartisan reform moot. Eight years in Afghanistan with no end in sight and numbers turning against the enterprise make it difficult for President Obama to answer his general’s plea to plunge America further into the Afghan malaise. That same war-weary population is not willing to militarily engage Iran unless they know that THIS one is a genuine threat to us. So far it has not been demonstrated.
But this phenomenon ably demonstrates the bankruptcy of America’s two-party system and their collective pandering to the lowest common denominator. Every dying political cause can be reduced to Hitler, the Holocaust, or World War II. It’s time for Americans to awaken and see that instead of facing a holocaust around every corner, the problem is the politicians who talk down to Americans by using these references to scare them into total dependence.
It is insulting and demeaning to a free people.