GOP Government Shutdown Death Toll. Total As of Day 8: __
Hello. If you came here looking for a number and a list I don’t have one, as of Day 8. I wrote this headline in advance of the death(s). I will update the post upon confirmation of the dead.
Soon the media and the GOP will be talking about the people who died as a result of the current government shutdown. I’d like to suggest we talk about those future dead people now, in order to assign responsibility and force change.
If dealing with the right wing media and the “guns everywhere” crowd has taught me anything, it’s that right after someone is killed or dies because of a gun, it is not the time to talk about guns. Especially the ones used in the most recent mass shootings.
The people who want to get and keep guns everywhere have a standard response following a mass shooting. I anticipate the same will happen when people die because of the GOP orchestrated government shutdown. After a shooting we hear:
“Now is not the time to score political points! The bodies aren’t even cold. The families need to grieve!”
This is a very effective method to maintain the status quo because they know that the emotion following death is a window to change. The further the disconnect from the action and from the people who helped or supported the action, the harder it is to change.
The day the death(s) happens the media will be asking questions: What happened? Who died? Why did this happen? Who is responsible? In anticipation of these questions the GOP are working hard to make this about “both sides” As my old boss at the machine shop said, “It’s all fun and games until someone loses a life.”
Step One: GOP will deny it, “There is no connection between the death and the shutdown”
The GOP media machine will step up after the death(s) and do what the NRA and their supporters always do after a shooting. Confuse the issue by pointing out how this specific round of shootings would NOT have been prevented if certain forms of gun control measures were in place. For example, “Ah ha! He killed people with a shotgun, not an AR-15! So a ban on semi-automatic weapons wouldn’t have helped! And, the shotgun is what Joe Biden told Americans to get!”
Today Xeni Jardin at Boing Boing did a story about a woman with a rare form of cancer who won’t be getting a NIH treatment because of the shutdown. This could lead to her death. The people at Fox News will point out something like, ‘This was a clinical trial so there is no guaranteed it would have saved her life.” They will attempt to put the blame elsewhere and weaken the link between the shutdown and death.
Step Two: Flip the narrative
They will use the death, because of a shutdown government, as an example of Big Government failure! “If anyone is to blame, it’s Obama. We begged him to negotiate, he wouldn’t. Also, if the government would just ease up on restrictions the drug companies wouldn’t have to wait for the NIH. The drug companies would have already made a pill to cure her! Socialized medicine fail!” (It makes no logical sense, but that is not the point, the point is to reverse the narrative to the usual talking points. Running government bad. Stopped government good.)
After the denial they are connected, and the evading of responsibility, they will attack the people who point out the GOP’s culpability. They will say we are “playing the blame game.” (I’m always amused that this somehow shuts people up. Hell yes I want to play the blame game. Especially when they are to blame!)
Step three: Use Media’s Fear of Access Loss
No one in the mainstream media will ask the representatives if they are going to stop the shut down now that their stunt has lead to death. To ask that question is to guaranteed loss of access. The response, if someone dared to ask, will be umbrage. “That is a ridiculous assertion! We are not to blame for that person’s death. How dare you even suggest it!? It is the President who is to blame. He failed to negotiate with us. Go ask him if this death will cause him to change his mind.”
Step Four: No Change. No Action.
After each big mass shooting the NRA implies the following, “These deaths, though tragic, do not mean anything has to change.”
Let’s say that Rachael Maddow points out to Boehner the direct connection from the actions of the Republicans to shut the government down to the death(s). Would that be enough for them to stop and change their policy? Again, let’s look at the history of the NRA for anticipated actions.
One thing I leaned working with corporations and their brands, is you do not want your brand to be associated with death, especially the death of women and children (Unless your business is death, like the gun manufacturers, then you brag about the speed and distance you can project death.)
So if the progressive left tries to point out to the “both sides do it” media that this death can be tied directly to GOP shutting down the government, the push back from the tea party and the RW media will be,
“They are using the death of this poor woman/child/man to score political points! The bodies aren’t even cold. The families need to grieve!”
There is a general view by many people that using the dead to “advance a political agenda” is distasteful. I understand that, so by bringing this up it in advance I’m trying not to be a ghoul. However, I also know that harnessing the emotion that happens right after the death can be the exact right thing to do. While the the righteous anger and cry for justice is in the air is the time to push for change.
I want to remind the people writing about this that these deaths should have been anticipated by the people who shut down the government.
Boehner and his staff have an acceptable loss of life number. You can NOT shut down something as complex as the government without some death and complication. After all, just running the government leads to death all the time, some of those deaths might not happen, but new ones will. I would bet that someone even calculated that fewer deaths will happen with a shut down and will point that out to the media. “Out of the thousands of government employees, X people die just going to and from work each week. So even with the deaths because of shutdown, there is actually a lower total death toll with the shutdown.” Slick eh? (And pretty sick. All deaths are not created equal.)
If they use Condi Rice’s, “No one could have predicted” line, then they are either lying, incompetent or both.
The question to ask Boehner and the republicans following the shutdown deaths, is NOT the standard, ”Do you feel like you are to blame?” since we know the response. The smart question is, “In your decision to shut down the government what were the number of deaths you anticipated?” If they say, “Nobody could have anticipated…’ then the follow up is. “Really why not? Are you telling me that you carried out an action this consequential without anticipating any lose of life or other serious damage?”
Someone somewhere sent out a memo with worst case scenarios. Which, like the Presidential Daily Brief memo, was ignored. This would be a nice smoking gun, but even without it, if you tie their actions to the consequences of death that will serve as a way to prevent future actions like this.
And that, my friends, is why I’m writing this post before the confirmation of people dying from the GOP orchestrated government shutdown. I want to score political points.
I don’t want to hear just, “The shut down inconvenienced people and it might cost the GOP the house, but I want us to say, “People died because the GOP wanted to act like a 3 year old. This can not be allowed to happen again, let’s hang these deaths around their necks and let it drag them down–and out of power.”
Video created by Spocko, Creative Commons License