After appearing on Think Progress and Huffpo today, the first video below is getting a lot of play today, but I wanted to post it again, first, because it is so jaw-droppingly sad and depressing that it deserves to be seen as widely as possible, and second, because I think that, in tandem with the second video posted below, it says something fundamental about the current state of civility in this country.
The title of the first says it all, “Woman Yells ‘Heil Hitler’ to Jewish Man at Las Vegas Town Hall,” but you should take a look, because it’s actually worse than it sounds. The woman shouts ‘Heil Hitler’ at the man because he has the temerity to praise another country’s health care system AT A TOWN HALL MEETING TO DISCUSS HEALTH CARE. Then, when he responds to her provocation with outrage, she makes a crying baby face like a child on a playground.
I know there is a lot of faux outrage out there right now on both the right and the left, but this is really far, far beyond the pale. And it gets stranger still, because the very same woman was interviewed only moments before the altercation (see the second video, below). Turns out she’s a self-identified conservative who believes in “biblical values.” (I’m guessing Old Testament.) Oh, and though she has health insurance, her husband — who has two or three jobs (she finally settles on two-and-a-half) — has no health insurance at all. So she is at this rally shouting racist claptrap at complete strangers in order to prevent Obama giving her husband health insurance. Why? Because “nobody is obligated to give you healthcare. Nobody is obligated to give you anything.” Man, this is a very weird country right now.
I should state that I am not attempting to demonize this woman. In the second clip she comes off as a perfectly reasonable person (albeit one I may fundamentally disagree with), but only moments later it’s as though she’s gone straight from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. (Mrs?) Hyde. It really is a startling transformation. I’m guessing that this dichotomy is attributable to the steady drumbeat of hate spewing from the right wing noise machine, which posits that anyone who disagrees in any way, shape, or form with their current talking points is a traitorous, socialist, confiscatory, etc. etc. and on and on. This attitude permits otherwise reasonable and ostensibly deeply religious people to treat their opponents as though they are not worthy of the most rudimentary notions of respect, dignity, or even common courtesy. And it goes well beyond the racist taunt. After all, even if this woman had not yelled out something as charged as ‘Heil Hitler,’ the very fact that she feels entitled to disruptively call out while another person is being interviewed demonstrates a complete lack of regard for any views that differ from her own. And again, the contrast to her own interview conducted only moments before is quite stark, as she is permitted to give her own views at length and in relative quiet, with no one standing on the sidelines spewing derision and bile.
It’s all quite dispiriting, I must say.