Bill Murchison

The problem with getting old, the fellow told me once, is that you remember when everything was cheap. There's an offsetting advantage, though: You remember how long politics has been mendacious.

Thus, watching a Republican operative on YouTube pushing a sweet old crone off the cliff in her wheelchair (that's how much Republicans hate Medicare!!) wasn't much different really from watching Barry Goldwater, back in '64, incinerate a little blond girl picking daisies (that's how much Republicans love war!!).

There's no political proposal constructive enough to spare its proposer the attentions of the nuthouse set. Yes, yes, the Agenda Project, creators of the Medicare video, assures us, to the strains of "America the Beautiful," "With pretty boy Paul Ryan's draconian and savage cuts to Medicare in his budget proposal, we have to ask ourselves: Is America still beautiful without Medicare?" And yes, yes, because Sen. Goldwater feared lest America the Beautiful would fall victim to the Soviets, he clearly wanted to bomb every tiny blond girl into extinction. You can see that, can't you? What you love, you kill. Provided you're a Republican.

With all the homicidal maniacs of the right yearning to slaughter and roast the gentle lambs of the left -- this, according to the lambs -- it's a miracle anyone makes a living around here besides funeral directors.

It has to be owned that the burgeoning of the Internet has encouraged people of all kinds to say things under cover of anonymity they wouldn't dare say to others' faces for fear of a horsewhipping. The kind of people who comment, especially those who comment endlessly, on political blogs -- how many would you invite to your daughter's wedding without hiring extra security?

That's enough of that, though. The present point is the difficulty in such a rhetorical climate of getting people to stand still and interact with other people trying to solve a problem such as Medicare. I am willing to be instructed if I am wrong, but the left seems to me responsible for most of the dissonance on Medicare: the squawks, the squeals, the insults and vulgarities, the charges that Rep. Ryan wants, in effect, to throw old ladies off the cliff.

Oh, is this doing a lot for a solution to Medicare's funding crisis! The more some of us blame others for wanting to kill old ladies the larger the opportunities for cordial exchange of ideas across the table, right?

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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