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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Forget Town Halls, it's time for a Battle of the Bands

The health care debate has degenerated into a pro wrestling match in the last few weeks. Bloggers are increasingly disappointed that we don't have the attention span or the bladder control to focus on the issues.

NPR asked foreign correspondents what they they thought of the American steel chair and cage match approach. They are still at the beginning of the debate and completely befuddled that not all Americans have health insurance and that health care is so expensive. With that context, it makes negative comments about European medicine kind of like the pleasure someone receives when they stop hitting their finger with a hammer.

Since we can't discuss health care as a country, we need a different framework that's easier for us to understand. I propose a battle of the bands that's mockumentery style. Embed policy in song lyrics that are catchy enough to stick in our heads until we understand the words.

The moderate point of view will be represented by Death Panel, a folk band with long, elaborate songs that tell a story in order to describe all the complicated changes that are proposed. For example, "Stuck inside of the Emergency Room because I lost my insurance again". Dylan's "Hurricane" will describe the evils of the insurance companies and just be called "Insurance". The Who's "Pin Ball Wizard" will be about someone denied coverage.

The left won't be represented in this battle of the bands just like their principles have steadily been dropped. Single payer was taken as seriously as Spinal Tap's mini-Stone Henge, and the public plan will spontaneously combust at any moment like their drummers. Personally, the song that I always had in mind for the public plan was Madonna's "Like a Virgin" because the government has always outsourced heath insurance administration. The public plan would be their very first time running a health plan.

The right's band will be called Socialized Distortion Medicine and I think that name is self-explanatory. This guitar-heavy southern rock band's songs would include turning "People are Strange" from Echo and the Bunnymen to "Obama is Strange", "I Fought Health Care Rationing", and "Keep your hands off my Medicare." Or it could be named Government Takeover and the Socialist Company and sing Janis Joplin songs. They could have all kinds of fun with the Me and Bobby McGhee line "Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose." Joplin's "Piece of my heart" would be turned into a song about taking away insurance from those who like their insurance with, "Break it, take another little piece out of my benefit package."

If Bob Dylan can venture into unknown territory with a Christmas album than we can use bands to debate health care.


Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Deadhedge said...

Thanks for the comment Susan, I appreciate it.

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