Now that the government is looking seriously — or half-way seriously — at some sort of health care reform, maybe people will have their eyes opened about the state of health care and health insurance in America. Perhaps they will figure out just how bad the health care system has become and how extensively they have been exploited by the health insurance industry — not to mention the degree of complicity of the politicians who have been the paid servants of the insurance industry rather than the representatives of the people.
Then again, maybe not; but people will only wake up when they're faced with all the problems and stop believing the lies and propaganda which the insurance industry and their political servants keep putting out. If the current hearings and debates aren't sufficient to reveal enough of the truth to enough people, what would it take?
One principle criticism of the Bush administration was the extensive secrecy brought to government dealings. Bush and Cheney worked hard to prevent the public from learning many things the government was doing in our name. It's no wonder that Barack Obama ran on a platform which emphasized the need for open government and that he would proclaim a personal commitment to letting more light into government affairs. How has that been working out, do you think?
Some were skeptical about Obama's promises and wondered whether his commitment to open government would survive once Obama transitioned from a candidate seeking power and making promises to acquire power to a person wielding power. Not many people voluntarily give up power once they have it and that's why it's such a problem when presidents appropriate new power for their office — once established, it's difficult to remove. It's far better to keep people from getting unjust, inappropriate power than to try to wrest it from them once they've gotten a taste for using it.
The accusation that the American media are biased towards liberalism has been so common and repeated so often that it's pretty much reached the point of accepted wisdom by now. People don't repeat it anymore as a conclusion to an argument, but rather as an unquestioned premise in some other argument. As a result, no one bothers to even look for any evidence to support this position; if they did, they would find that not only is the evidence not there, but in fact there is significant evidence for very different — and far more disturbing — conclusions.
Anyone who looks very closely at what sorts of material, views, and ideas keep being repeated in America's news media will find not only a surfeit of conservative ideas as compared to liberal ideas, but in fact an incredible amount of right-wing extremism that is presented without any attempt at critique or challenge. News talk shows frequently host multiple guests who are all very conservative and maybe one moderate — yet no liberals, much less far-left liberals.
The only thing truly surprising about the murder of Dr. George Tiller in Kansas is that it's been so long since the last time anti-choice fanatics have engaged in violence against an abortion provider. Such violence is deplorable, yes, but it should be expected given the constant pressure of violent, eliminationist, and extremist rhetoric which the anti-choice movement is subjected to by its leaders and even many "mainstream" conservatives.
Why do you suppose conservatives are in such denial about the impact their language, rhetoric, and ideas? They certainly can't dispute the extent to which rhetoric and ideas can affect people's behavior — after all, aren't they among the first to complain about how they think American culture is negatively impacted by what people see in movies or hear in music? Aren't conservative Christians among the first to insist that there should be less profanity and sex in the media because its presence "coarsens" American culture?
The Obama presidency has been filled with disappointments already, but the biggest and most dramatic may be his reversal on basic questions of morality and law. Most recently, this has involved his proposal to detain people indefinitely on the suspicion that they may pose some sort of "national security" threat but without any trial before an impartial judge or jury. President Bush was already trying to do this, but Barack Obama is taking the entire situation a couple of steps further along by institutionalizing it.
There are, admittedly, people currently in U.S. custody who can't be prosecuted for past crimes because the Bush administration made such a mess of things — detaining them without counsel or trial, torturing them, and so forth. Under a just system of laws, they would have to be released even if they are a likely threat, but Barack Obama doesn't believe in the principle of law enough to do that. Instead, he intends to construct a "system" or "legal regime" in which preventative detention becomes a standard for people who can't be tried but who are suspected of being a threat some time in the future — in effect, a "legal regime" of "precrime" where people are imprisoned for crimes they haven't committed yet.