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Buzzblog, 9-08-09: The fictional debate
Meet Homer Avila

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2009 Paul Ben-Itzak

I was pondering how I could justify intervening on a 'political' topic in a 'dance publication,' namely the health care so-called 'debate,' when the answer came to me in two words: Homer Avila. Homer, my friend, was the dancer and choreographer whose valiant life with and tragic death from cancer in 2004 has become dance world lore. While the way he lived and danced and celebrated life and his art and touched others in his final years made it not so, in an abstract sense Homer's death was needless. He died because, not being able to afford health insurance, he waited too long to go to the doctor's and find out why he was having pain in his leg. By the time he did go, the cancer was already installed; amputating his leg only delayed its taking him from us. So yes, the fictional 'debate' supposedly taking place over implementing universal healthcare in the U.S. needs to be outed, and it's completely relevant to do so in a dance publication.

In 1992, as Hilary Clinton was getting ready to try to institute universal health care, I was covering a stock conference of health care companies and witnessed a frightening thing: A health care stock analyst got up and, with a knowing look in her eyes, told the insurance executives not to worry about Clinton's attempts; they would fail and we'd never have universal health care. She was right; the fix was in.

This time around, the insurance companies are evidently resorting to the tried and true demagogical tactic of sending hired thugs masquerading as concerned citizens to town hall meetings, making a mockery of that concept and doing much more real damage to democracy than that elusive 'Socialist' bogeyman. And yet most of the media report this as if it is legitimate opposition motivated by legitimate concerns; it's right out of Frank Capra's 1941 "Meet John Doe." Never mind that it defies logic to think that there would somehow be a significant segment of society who prefer to remain uninsured or pay ludicrous premiums for assembly-line health care. (Question: Why aren't these thugs ejected from the meetings as quickly as peace protesters are when they dare to interrupt congressional hearings?)

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