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Town Hall Lunacy Includes Outraged Calls to 'Keep Government Out of Medicare,' When Medicare Is Government

Some can't reconcile what they believe about the propaganda that is fed to them with their own positive experiences with public programs like Medicare.

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And, according to a Gallup survey of the citizens of 30 advanced democracies, Americans come in 18th in terms of their satisfaction with the health care they receive.

Chip Berlet admonishes: "Calling these protesters 'extremists' or 'wing nuts' suggesting they are mere puppets of elite rightist spinmasters or demanding they be silenced, undercuts the basic concepts of the democratic process." Berlet recommends that Democrats and progressives "need to learn how to rebut false and misleading statements and beliefs without name-calling; calmly rebuke those spreading the misinformation as harming civil society; and develop strong and clear arguments to defend their proposed programs."

He's right, but it's easier said than done when communicating with people who are fighting to establish some degree of cognitive consonance between what they believe about the pernicious nature of government in general and their own experience with good public programs like Medicare.

It's hard to respond with anything more than condescension when faced with an angry person screaming at you to keep your dirty government paws off their pristine Medicare program.

Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet.

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