Today, I was watching and hearing the Barack Obama Health Care Summit. Republicans and Democrats sat down and discussed the present Health Care bill supported by the President and what they liked and disliked about it all. What caught my eye and ears, was when some members of Congress used sob stories and emotionalism to convince that those who were opposed were "ugly," "insensitive" and "mean-spirited." Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) used a sob story of a farmer who wrote to his office stating that the farmer had difficulty paying for his insurance and for those who work under him (it was later discovered that the farmer in question was a relative of one of the Senator's political aides). Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) used a story of a woman in her district that wrote to her stating that because she cannot afford health insurance, she had to use her dead sister's false teeth instead of getting her own pair. There were other sob stories that were presented at the summit and after a while, I felt nauseous.
For the political left, "moderates," and even some conservatives, the use of sob stories and emotionalism has been a very effective tactic to get what they have wanted passed and publicly supported. This tactic was used during the 1960s to pass Lyndon B. Johnson's Great Society programs. It was used as an effective tool by Franklin D. Roosevelt to garner public and Congressional support for his New Deal. It was even used as an effective tool by Woodrow Wilson in 1917 to pass his war socialism program where he arrested people who did not support the U.S. entry in World War I.
Conservatives used the emotionalism tactic to erect the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies. They have used this tactic to drum up support for the Iraq War. They have used it also to pass the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit and pass heaps of domestic spending bills.
The use of emotionalism is the same kind of tool that is used by snake oil salesmen and con-men. It is very effective. It tugs at the heart strings and it puts individuals in positions where most of the time they can't say "no." It has been used many an ideologue and demagogue. Today, it is not working. It is failing and is so because of the fact that individuals see the reality of what is going on, particularly when it comes to government largess and the out of control spending. It is my belief that when people see the facts in front of them, when they see the reality, the tactic of emotionalism is then rendered useless.
In the proceeding days, weeks and months, the tactic of emotionalism will be on full display and be used to death not only with the Health Care Bill, but with regard to other issues as well. Make a book on it. The tactic will fail and fail big time, for it will be the people who will see through the charade.