The headline above is a quote from an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times by Nelson Lichtenstein who teaches history at UC Santa Barbara, where he directs the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy.
In that op-ed he makes the case that President Obama's Affordable Care Act is at the center of a new fight using old tactics, or rather, old ugly tactics. Lichtenstein reminds us of the 1950s battle for civil rights that included ending segregation at public schools and putting a stop to Jim Crow racism.
But in Congress, the Southern delegation was against federal support of such things. And today, he writes, the GOP-- especially "those hailing from the old Confederacy"-- are using the same tactics used by Southern segregationists.
Here's one of the tactics House Republicans have resorted to:
And, as in the 1950s in the case of civil rights, the Supreme Court has inadvertently given opponents — this time of healthcare reform — a green light. In 1955, the high court declared that desegregation should proceed with "all deliberate speed," which integration opponents interpreted as permission to drag their feet. In 2012, when the Roberts court ruled that states could reject the large expansion of Medicaid called for in the original Affordable Care Act, virtually every Republican legislature and governor in the South did just that, spurning the chance to enroll hundreds of thousands of their residents in the new federal program. [...]
Just as hostile local officeholders half a century ago thwarted voting rights and the integration of schools and public facilities, so too are many governors and the health officials they have appointed doing everything they can to stop the implementation of the Obamacare health insurance exchanges this fall.
Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens added his two (non)cents: "Let me tell you what we're doing. Everything in our power to be an obstructionist." How democratic of him.
There are organizations and volunteers called "navigators" who are doing the very important work of trying to help those who have no insurance-- many who don't speak English-- to get through the often complicated process of signing up for coverage. And guess what Republicans are doing about that?
That's right, they're screwing with the navigators, making them jump through all kinds of hoops in order to delay, hinder, or outright stop their efforts.
They'd rather that people in need of care go without it, because seeing President Obama's plan fail is more important to them.
Denying their fellow Americans the chance to prevent and treat illness takes precedence over reaching out (remember that?) to help them stay alive (remember "right to life"?)... which especially affects people who look and sound "different" from the powerful white guys with the money and means to care for their own families (remember "family values"?).
Impeding the navigators at the expense of the health and welfare of American men, women, and children is their priority, even though the navigators are "truly the civil rights workers of our day whose dedication and hope will help transform the insecurity of millions into a set of healthcare rights and thus crack the massive resistance still faced by so many of the poor and uninsured."
Get lost, Republicans, come back 60 years ago!