The good colonists of Massachusetts

On the BBC World News this morning, Dan Damon was talking about the Massachusetts election and its implications for healthcare reform. I was half asleep, but I heard him say something about how people around the world think the US is crazy, unable to get healthcare reform when they have one of the worst systems in the world.

One of the people he was speaking to was from the Wall Street Journal, and it must have been he who began expounding about how flawed the plan is; how it’s Obama’s fault because he allowed all these “left-wing, ideological provisions” into the bill; how Americans don’t want healthcare reform, and the good people of Massachusetts are just reflecting the will of the people.

This is nuts.

When you look at where we were just a year ago, this backlash seems almost inconceivable. Much as I hate to admit it, it’s a testament to Republicans.

I’ve written before about the game called Starpower that illustrates, experientially, how people behave when they’re on the top, bottom, or middle of a social structure. In all the games I observed (more than a hundred), the most energy was always at the bottom. They were the Victims. They didn’t have to do anything about the mess they found themselves in, they just had to yell, complain, and organize against the top.

This energy is natural. We Democrats felt it for eight years. But the genius of the Republicans is that they’ve figured out how to channel it into one direction: against Obama.

But the Republicans owe some of their success to Democrats. We have Victims in our own party. They are the progressives, those “left-wing ideologues.” I wonder what the Wall Street Journal guy would have called the bill if they had had their way. Socialism. The system that takes care of Dan Damon.

Maybe we shouldn’t have fought the Revolutionary War after all.

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