Saturday, August 29, 2009

" But I Want to Keep What I Have;" Grandmere Mimi Goes to Town Hall Debate.

June Butler, the eponymous "Grandmere Mimi," of Thibodaux, Louisiana, gets my vote for America's bravest grandma.

She went to Senator Mary Landrieu's town hall meeting on the health care bill. She went, not as a reporter, but as an activist in support of healthcare reform. Her first hand reporting of the event is first rate and makes for very instructive reading. Here is her whole post.

Here is her account of an encounter that I think sums up the whole issue:
I asked her if she thought health care was a moral issue, and she told me that she did and that her husband made quite a lot of money and why should her tax money go to pay for the health care of others, including deadbeats? That was the moral of her story. I tried to explain about what insurance was for, that it was about spreading cost and risk, but that got nowhere. She continued to get angrier and angrier and more and more in my face, until she was screaming and waving her sign so close that I thought she would hit me.

I'm very saddened by this, but I'm not surprised. I've had similar conversations with my own family for many years. That's why we don't speak much anymore, and when we do, it rarely ventures into anything more controversial than the weather.

The saddest thing about it all is the poverty of spirit such an outlook reveals. Morality boils down to "I've got mine and the hell with everyone else." It is a fearful and hopeless view of life. It is also deeply misanthropic; "Humanity is a pack of thieves, I stole what I have, I cling to it tightly, and I'm not going to let anyone else steal it away from me." Like all hopeless misanthropy, it is self-fulfilling. If you sow hate and suspicion, then don't expect any love and trust in return.

Thomas Hobbes must be smiling in his grave.

My friend David Kaplan always said that America at its best is Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness for all guaranteed by Equal Justice Under Law. America at its worst, he said, is a plea bargain with history for the white middle class.

Thomas Jefferson always admonished that we are never to despair of our Republic. But, there are days when it is so hard not to.

Thanks June, for your bravery and your reporting.


Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Amen Brother!

Brian R said...

Even here where we do have universal health coverage, certain people I know are always pointing to how some people use the system. There are some who visit the doctor for a sore toe but this is the price to pay for providing everyone with basic health care.

Christian Prophet said...

Get the government OUT of health care and the free market will create it's own reform. Government solutions are always immoral. Obama is trying to sell his government takeover of health care by calling it moral and Christian. Exactly the opposite is true. See:

Counterlight said...

Well, what do you know. Medicare is immoral. Time to pull your own weight, grandma.

June Butler said...

Counterlight, thanks for the lovely tribute. I am not brave. I just can't keep my mouth shut. I believe that I made Grandpère really nervous, but he knew beforehand that I would not keep quiet.

Counterlight said...


Stop being so modest.

I see that one of your antagonists from the meeting did a little drive by on my blog.

He doesn't appear to have read the posting or your link.

Anonymous said...

omg anyone BUT the Constitution Party!

I remember reading the blog of a young man who is part of that party. He lives in VA, always has and always will, and I am convinced he's got white sheets for himself and all his friends stashed away in his house somewhere.

And I don't mean Halloween ghost costumes, if you follow me...