We Are All Assassins

Jules Dassin’s 1952 film We Are All Assassins (Nous Sommes Tout des Assassins) is melodramatic, but complements the strident, rabidly anti-Obama rhetoric Republicans have chosen (“killing granny”; “death panels”) to raise “discussion” of health care to a white heat.

Sowing fear and rage, specifically by demonizing and undermining President Barack Obama, enables the fomenters to spread their divisive propaganda above the seas of reason like water bugs skimming over the surface of a pond.

In point of fact, we—the American voting citizenry—are already granny-killers. Consider: We are, as a recent article in Newsweek pointed out, the only one among what could be called First World nations (including Canada, France, Great Britain, and Japan) where a citizen can be allowed to die or be driven into bankruptcy for lack of means—cash or insurance—to obtain medical attention.

It’s not only granny who is in jeopardy. It’s anyone down to the youngster whose mother can’t afford to buy his asthma medicine.

Until we as a people say, “This is unacceptable,” and demand a system of medical coverage for everyone, young and old, we tacitly are condoning the very decisions the rabid right is trying to pin on Obama.

What, really, is wrong with looking at options? An option is a choice, not a mandate. Choices, and painful ones of life and death, are made every day. In military or disaster situations, rescuers must triage the injured, treating first those who have the best chance of recovery. Families, or those with power of attorney, already ask that heroic measures not be taken for a dying patient.

Working as an LPN, I frequently saw, or wrote at a family’s request, “DNR” (Do Not Resuscitate) on a patient’s chart. When the time came, I made that same decision for each of my parents. I have that instruction in my own medical directive. Options and choices offer more dignity and freedom to the patient, not less.

I’m averse to playing the “gay card” or the “gender card,” etc., but the intensity, wildness, and rabidity of the attacks on Obama—the invective, the allowing, in the name of free speech, signs urging “Kill ___” —to me indicate a pervasive racial hatred. The aim of the “granny killer!” shouters has no real relation to health care, but exists to discredit Obama, no matter what the cost to the President, the country—or granny.

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