It always happens that the reactionaries among us, and those rugged individualists, react to any public program with fear. The fear is personal, that someone will be able to tell them how to live. In some ways they do the rest of us a service, by complaining about any government intervention, they force a debate, individual choice vs. public good, think gun control.
This fear is there, and ready to be tapped by any Rovian who’s read the book. We could not have had such high public approval for invading Iraq without that fear, and the name that was put on it by the ad men, mushroom clouds, and expanded ‘terrorism.’ For two.
We are now seeing this fear directed at the so-called public option in the health care reform debate and in the ideas to control cost. In the past the signifier communism worked fine, but that word has lost its impact, capitalism has clearly won, and we already have examples of public insurance that work.
So, the new fear word isn’t WMD, or even international terrorism (which are still actual threats, just not so feared right now) but death care and it just may sink health care reform, which scares me (but how to name it?).
Bogus doesn’t matter, there is no doubt that most of us will grow old, and that we’ll protect our rights to hang on as long as we can. But bogus never matters.
So, how does it work?
It’s the human factor, humans are riddled with fears we ignore in the same way as the ostrich who bites the butt of the one with his head in the sand, but isn’t looking behind to see who’s about to bite him. The point is to name it, not everything, just it, and don’t look behind it.
So the pugs have a winning meme, those who fear death can instead fear death care, it’s easy, it’s available, it’s bogus but so what, and it will protect those who adopt this name for their fear from fearing all those unknowns, the ones that will indeed bite us all in the butt, in good time.