Let Him Die – Really?

Killing Healthcare
Killing Healthcare

It was just last year that we as a nation had a vicious and bitter “debate,” more properly called a descent into insanity, over whether we should have some semblance of pretending to create a national health care policy.  I did my part in debating the position of sanity and compassion in the reader’s comments section of our local rag, now called “Inside NOVA.com.”  What I remember most from this experience was just how vicious and selfishly mean the Republican side of the argument was.

At the height of the insanity, with Tea Bagger Republicans showing up at Democratic-led town hall meeting packing loaded firearms (it’s their constitutionally protected right, don’t you know), then Congressman Alan Grayson (D, Former Florida 8th CD) got up in front of the house and perfectly summed up the “Republican health care plan” as “Don’t get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.”  No one could have anticipated that right-wingers would viciously attack him for this statement.  But they did.

In the 2010 elections the Republican National Committee (RNC) made defeating Congressman Grayson their number one priority, and did convince enough voters to replace Congressman Grayson with a republican.  Congressman Grayson’s “die quickly” comment apparently stuck in the caw of every Republican voter.

Fast forward to last week.  During another interminable Republicans primary debate, candidate and current Republican senator Ron Paul (R, Texas 14th CD), also a doctor, was asked a hypothetical question about a young man who makes a good living, but decides to forgo health insurance. Then, tragedy strikes and he needs care. Paul stuck to the libertarian line. “But congressman,” the moderator said, “are you saying that society should just let him die?”

One person from the audience yelled “yes.”  Many people in the audience cheered.  Congressman Ron Paul looked flustered, and ducked giving a straight answer.  Not one Republican on the stage, all vying for President of the United States, condemned the people cheering for death.  Not one candidate for President of the United States took a stand for life, for the principle that we are all in this together, and as Christians (which all those candidates claim to be), it is our duty to take care of our neighbors.

Here is the video:

Republican Debate – Let Him Die!

Now a writer at Daily Kos has told her story about her brother, who died relatively young from a very painful form of cancer, because he could not afford health insurance.  Moveon has turned her story into a video.

The writer’s is Ms. Susan Grigs, posting under the pseudonym  “Susan from 29,” and her story is titled “That was my brother’s death you were cheering, you a$$holes.”  She starts her post with:

To all of those tea-jadist assholes at last night’s GOP debate: I don’t generally like to use profanity, but I fear that English is above your comprehension level, so in terms you might better understand, may God damn your worthless souls to hell for all eternity.

Ms. Susan Grigs

She continues with the story of her brother and his painful death.

His buddies came up with the $2000 a proctologist wanted to do an outpatient surgery.  But the hospital wanted $20,000 for use of the room for the brief procedure because he was uninsured.  Because the pain didn’t matter half as much as the profit.

For six weeks he suffered at home.  You bastards, you would have liked to watch that, wouldn’t you?  Too bad there were no cameras to catch him as he collapsed when he tried to microwave his oatmeal.  No microphones to catch his cries of pain or despair.

He was finally admitted to Highland after his heart started to fail in the emergency room one night early in February.  The staff there are dedicated, caring, compassionate people who work their hearts out trying to save the sickest and poorest Americans.  They have only limited resources with which to do that.  And they make every one of those resources count.

By then, of course, the cancer from his lung had spread to his buttock where it attacked the bone.  It wrapped itself into the nerves that traveled up his spine.  The pain was indescribable.  Perhaps his medical records could serve as pornography to sate your sick lust for the pain of others.

Ms. Susan Grigs

She ends with this:

I was holding his hand as he drew his last breath.  Have you ever seen a man die, you bastards?  His fingertips turn grey, his breathing becomes shallow.  His grip weakens.  And he simply stops breathing.

And all of the laughter and love goes away with that last breath.  The intelligence, the creative beauty, the caring compassion.  They all disappear.  But that probably wouldn’t matter to you since I doubt you would recognize any of it.

Love, compassion, beauty.  Laughter, intelligence.  And the ability to realize a dream.  A dream that never included cruelty or indifference to the suffering of others.

And I cannot, for the life of me fathom why he is only ashes today and you are walking this earth.

But then, I am not the hero my brother was.  He would have forgiven you.  He would have understood the source of your fear that caused those cheers.  I don’t want to.

I think you are scum.

Ms. Susan Grigs

Back in 1969-1970 we brought my mom’s aunt home to live with us when my aunt was dying of cancer.  My aunt stayed with us for almost one year while she slowly faded away, becoming less aware of her surrounding with each passing day.  Finally, she was so far gone we had to bring her to a nursing home for my aunt’s final days.  I didn’t watch her die, but I did watch her deteriorate to the point that when she was moved out of our home I no longer recognized her as the wonderful person I had grown up with.  No, my aunt did not have health care insurance.  For her, as with Ms. Grigs’ brother, health care insurance was a luxury my aunt could not afford, even in 1969.

Here is the Moveon video of Ms. Grigs telling her story:

MoveOn: Video Response to “Let Him Die”

The Most Powerful Response To The ‘Let Him Die’ Party

I think this speaks for itself. Congressman Grayson, where are you? 

I also think it goes without saying that the Right Wing Noise machine will now relentlessly attack Ms. Grigs for telling this story.  Because, the party of “Let Him Die” is in fact too cowardly to stand behind what they truly believe.

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Updated: January 10, 2023: Replaced the Republican Debate Video link, as the original link was no longer active. New video points to the same debate clip as original.

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