I recently took a trip to the state of my birth, Missouri. It was for my grandmother's 96th birthday and many of my extended family relatives were there. Most were very old and, well, very white. Previous years have included long tirades against President Obama that are clearly being fed directly from the right wing media industrial complex. One year, my cousin Jim from Texas said that if Barack Obama were in the room, he would put a stick up his ass. I didn't think too much of it because Jim hates nearly all politicians.
This year, however, there was a noticeable change among all the conservatives in my family. There was a lot of grumbling about the shutdown and how it personally affected all of them. At one point, someone mentioned immigration and my cousin Jim said, "Well the Republicans will just try and block it. That's all they really do." The room was quiet for a minute and then everyone sunk their heads a little bit and agreed. The rest of the conversation turned to a discussion of how frustrated they all were that the Republicans have no real plan of their own and refused to compromise. In fact, it was a real pile on against the GOP with nary a mention of President Obama except when the conversation turned to entitlements. That's when some admitted that the GOP's ideas for reforming entitlements were not at all desirable. Some even expressed the simple fact that the president was in their corner on this one. Honestly, I was completely blown away by the sea change.
The one thing we can always rely on in this country is for old people to get scared and act out of fear. It's not surprising when you consider that people are nearing their twilight years and have so many unknowns. Of course, that's no excuse for them to act irrationally and like children. In some ways, though, they can't help it because that's how their minds are developing at such a later stage in life. It truly sickens me that outlets like Fox News and the various right wing blogs take full advantage of this and peddle their lies for dollars. It's no lie, though, that the Republicans want to fuck around with entitlements and send more money into the private sector where the already ridiculously wealthy can have even more money. They do so at their own peril as old, white people are now their entire base. Lose them and you never win another election again.
I was also quite heartened to hear that many of my younger relatives signed up for the ACA and, interestingly, had no problems doing it. Some used the web site, others used the phone, and my Uncle John did the whole thing via old fashioned mail. They all asked me if I was going to sign up and I told them what I tell everyone else.
I like the health care I currently have and (gasp!) I get to keep it.