“THE TRICK OF ELIMINATION IS EVERY EXPERT’S DEFENSIVE REFLEX.”
Stanisław Lem, “Imaginary Magnitude”
Excerpt From: “On the Natural History of Destruction.” iBooks.
I am disabled and I believe the Republican Party is breaking the nation across my back. For “my back” we will assume, in the manner of Walt Whitman, your back, for even if you are currently straight of limb you will not be in the future. The GOP is breaking the nation across your back. Now listen to the language of the Grand Old Party, it’s experts, listen to their defensive reflex. Eliminating Medicare is good for the nation, which you must understand is not a real nation but a Master Race fantasy of hail and well formed legions. In the GOP’s defensive reflex there are only medical marvels walking the streets. No one is ill, in need of chemotherapy, too poor to keep the lights on or afford medicine in Republican America. Those people, (dare we call them that?) are faulted by nature, not by fifty years of lackluster job creation, (the GOP will never admit the failures of Reaganomics) and not by the devastating cost of medications or hospital visits. Reality is merely fodder for Mitch McConnell’s defensive reflex which given the metaphor might well be a reflux. The Senate is poised to ram home the cruel, insensible, and destructive House repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Democrats don’t have the power or influence by way of persuasion to stop it. And so the nation is broken across our backs. The disabled will die, no exaggeration, and mark my words, since nickels do not disappear, and since Americans don’t like the prospect of people dying in the streets, the destruction of Medicaid will cost the nation more than whatever remains of our moral standing.
I used to think I understood the United States. I recognized the John Birchers and the DAR and the SDS and the Weather Underground–knowing they were all part of a deep seated American suspicion of authority. Knowing their violence was easy, knowing how America loves its violence. Oh I understood these groups alright. And I also knew the quick and unreflective contempt poor Americans have for themselves. I even thought I understood the Jesse Helms, Lee Atwater version of the failing American Dream narrative–people of color were going to steal all the good jobs from deserving whites, don’t you know? But nothing has prepared me for the slick, mendacious, neoliberal assault on the nation’s most vulnerable citizens. Hitler famously referred to the disabled as “useless eaters” and that’s pretty much where we are now.
America has lost the psychic power of accurate moral action.