A Republican Is Ignorant; Democrats Respond With Ignorance

So, there's this lady named Sue Lowden. She's the Republican Senate candidate challenging Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for his Senate seat in Nevada. And, like every other Republican in America, one of her pet issues is the healthcare legislation–namely, how it is the Worst Thing to Happen in the History of America Since Jesus First Landed His Ark on Its Wheat-Filled Shores. Or whatever.

Recently, candidate Lowden proposed that one good way (spoiler alert: this is not a good way) to bring down spiraling healthcare costs is for Americans to barter with their doctors. And when some people suggested that this is not actually a good way at all to address what is a massive institutional clusterfuck exacerbated by several other major industries related to healthcare, including the very powerful insurance industry and the very powerful pharmaceutical industry, Lowden, blithely resistant to facts as is required by the Republican charter, insisted:
I'm telling you that this works. You know, before we all started having health care, in the olden days our grandparents, they would bring a chicken to the doctor, they would say I'll paint your house. I mean, that's the old days of what people would do to get health care with your doctors. Doctors are very sympathetic people. I'm not backing down from that system.
Now, this is very silly, because our medical system as a rule doesn't look like that anymore, and hasn't for quite some time.


Never afraid to pass up the chance to play directly into the stereotype of the urban elite who are totally out of touch with the reality of middle American lives, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) has announced plans to unveil a new website called "Chickens for Checkups," which
will allow people to send Lowden a "personalized message asking for her help in finding a doctor for their 19th century illness," DSCC spox Deirdre Murphy says. It will include a menu of stuff you can choose to barter for treatment.

"You can't make this stuff up," Murphy says. "Sue Lowden is completely out of touch with reality if she thinks trading chickens for checkups is smart health care reform."
True. But Democrats (and progressive bloggers picking up this particular torch) are completely out of touch with reality if they don't recognize that their kneejerk reaction has a rank whiff of classism to it.

Especially in smaller, rural (read: poorer) communities, bartering for an exchange of services still does happen a lot—and it's probably only increased since the economy hit the skids.

As is often the case with class issues, there are tangential elements of racism and sexism embedded within: Bartering of services is not uncommon in communities of color—particularly impoverished communities and/or immigrant communities from cultures in which bartering is more ubiquitous than it is in privileged US culture(s). And there are a lot of women's healthcare centers whose practitioners charge on a sliding scale, and women pay what they can; many of those patients will also supplement their below-market payments with an exchange of services, or a handmade knitted blanket, or a homemade pie.

Laughing at how RIDICULOUS the suggestion of bartering is really disappears those people's lives and experiences. Or, perhaps more accurately, continues to ignore them, which Democrats and fauxgressives have turned into an art form.

Mind you, I don't think Lowden was approaching the idea of bartering from an angle that is sympathetic to that reality, either. But responding to her like her suggestion is laughable really isn't covering Dems/so-called progressives in glory, not to mention that alienating women and/or people of color during an election year (again) ain't a great strategy.

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