The following blurb is made today, perhaps a little late, on the eve of the historic vote on heath care reform, which, as President Obama says, isn’t just policy, but about the kind of nation we want to be. Dare we use that word “empathy,” which the conservatives tried so hard to villify? I think it’s a good word, good policy, too, not just for a nation, but for humanity. Anyway, here’s the message:

Hey Tea Bag Party, you know how you’ve been saying that health insurance reform is going to destroy America because it’s socialism? Don’t you get tired of saying that? Or was that your idiotic grandfather or great, great uncle, the gasoline huffer, who warned us that integration was a commie plot? Or that there were communists in the movie industry? or that Unions were communist? or fill-in-the-blank was a commie plot?

This full-page ad appeared in the Lubbock Avalanche Journal April 2, 1950.

This full-page ad in the Lubbock Avalanche Journal was printed the Sunday before the April municipal elections in that town and a proposed federally subsidized housing project was on the ballot. This didn’t just happen in Lubbock, the National Association of Real Estate Boards pumped money into communities all over the US to try and prevent FHA housing projects. They wanted to protect the slumlords who were making outrageous profits on the tiny, rotten shacks and chicken coops that passed for housing. In retrospect, it was an ugly time in America. On the other hand, it looks an awful lot like the America we have today, where health insurance companies and other fat cats are pumping billions of dollars into fake grass roots campaigns like the Tea Party or the Tea Bag people so that they can try and convince people to vote against their best interests with a campaign of outrageous lies such as the so-called “death panel” myth that only someone as stupid as Sarah Palin might believe them. The fact that such paranoid drivel passes for fact in today’s environment is one of the best indicators that a huge portion of the public is illiterate.

Texas slumlords of the pre-FHA days were the equivalent of today's greedy health insurance lobby.

The following is an excerpt from “Two Thirds of a Nation: A Housing Program,” edited by Nathan Straus:

The enemies of public housing, more noisy than numerous, are heirs to a hundred-year-old tradition. Unable to recruit logic or ethics to their cause, they profess to fear that it is a cloak which conceals an alien philosophy. Such a thing they say, would destroy the American free enterprise system. In short, public housing is socialism. …
The core of the opposition to public housing is the National Association of Real Estate Boards. Their concept of government has been set forth with admirable clarity by their executive secretary, Herbert U. Nelson: “I do not believe in democracy. I think it stinks. I don’t think anybody except direct taxpayers should be allowed to vote. I don’t believe women should be allowed to vote at all.

In the 1930s and 1940s and even the 1950s, your peeps were saying that the New Deal was a red deal and it was going to destroy the USA. Next time you go to a National Park where all the facilities built by the CCC in the 1930s are still standing, still serving you and your fat ass in your giant SUV, remember how FDR’s socialist plot to destroy America somehow went wrong.

Your peeps even warned us that the public highway system was the spawn of Satan. There are indeed many roadways that I have cursed and could accept being called “Highway to Hell” or perhaps “Road to Nowhere” but, alas, none of them has obliterated the fattest nation in the world.

Good luck on the next “commie plot.” Someday, maybe you’ll be right, but your record isn’t too good.

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