Monday, September 26, 2016

You Cannot Worry About Health Care Reform When You Must Bow Down to a Tyrant

We started Health Care Renewal to highlight major health care problems whose discussion had previously been nearly taboo, with the hopes that this discussion would lead to true health care reform.  These problems included concentration of power within health care organizations; leadership of such organizations that was often generic, and hence ill-informed, unsympathetic or hostile to the values of health care professionals, self-interested, conflicted, or outright criminal or corrupt; and threats to the scientific basis of health care, including manipulation and suppression of clinical research.

We have come a long way in our understanding of these issues since we began in 2004.  But until now, we never needed to discuss some fundamental assumptions underlying what we were doing.  In particular, we could only pursue such discussions within societies that, however imperfectly, respected individual rights, particularly the rights to free speech, free press, free expression, and free association; operated under the rule of law; and were representative democracies.

People who live in anarchy, in societies torn by civil conflicts, or under dictatorships have much more pressing concerns that the niceties of improving health care.  So we knew that while our discussions might well have some relevance to many countries outside of the US, they were not going to be relevant everywhere.

Now maybe we should not feel assured that these discussions will continue to be useful in the US.  So far, reported only in a few outlets has been a crucial interview that appeared in a trailer for the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) documentary Frontline episode that will air tomorrow (September 27, 2016) on the two candidates running for the US presidency.   

At about 3 minutes into this trailer, Ms Omarosa Manigault, who was on the original Apprentice, and who is now Director of African-American Outreach for the Trump campaign, is heard to say:

Every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump.

As reported in a brief story from the Huffington Post, she followed that up with:

It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.

These statements were also covered briefly by Talking Points Memo, and a number of entertainment sites, but has gotten almost no coverage and generated almost no discussion from larger general media outlets.

There was a brief story on MSNBC by Rachel Maddow who called the interview with Ms Manigault "creepy."    

As far as I can tell, this statement has not been retracted or repudiated by Ms Manigault or the Trump campaign.

This story is more than creepy.  Here is an apparently senior, paid staffer for the campaign of a major party candidate for the US presidency threatening that anyone who disagreed with her candidate will have to "bow down" should he become president.  That seems to be an overt threat of dictatorship should that candidate win.  I do not recall ever hearing any such statement made by any such staffer in any such campaign in the past.

As I noted above, niceties of health or any other policy discussion would be pointless, and probably extremely hazardous to one's health under a totalitarian regime that expects all critics to bow down, presumably under threat of force.

Those who care about true health care reform, and many other important causes, should be aware of this threat, and act accordingly. 

ADDENDUM (28 September, 2016) - The full Frontline episode, "The Choice 2016," aired on September 27, 2016, and early on featured Ms Manigault's "bow down" response.  The full transcript of the interview is here, but it included no further enlargement or explanation these remarks.  Ms Manigault was interviewed after the first US presidential debate here by the Hollywood Reporter, and at that time tried to walk back her quote as merely meaning that those who criticized Mr Trump would be forced to "eat crow."  The Frontline interview with Ms Manigault otherwise has been remarkably anechoic.  I could only find a single opinion piece that discussed its implications, here in the Everett, WA, Herald. 


Anonymous said...

Ridiculous, you ask us to choose between an obvious political dynasty and what someone else says about Trump.

Judy B said...

Not just creepy but really scary!

Roy M. Poses MD said...

Anonymous of 26 September,

Hillary Clinton's husband is an ex-President. How is that relevant to the content of the post above?

Note the "someone else" is an official, relatively high-level Trump campaign official and what she said to my knownledge to date has not been repudiated.