ESCANABA - In November 1978 the news reported on a story from South America that was surreal. Even as the news media unfolded the events from Jonestown, Guyana, one could not conjure a mental picture of what had happened because there was no frame of reference.
In November 1978 it was reported that in Guyana, a small country near Venezuela, over 900 men, women and children drank Kool-Aid (really Flavor Aid ) laced with poison and died. Jonestown was named for its charismatic leader, Reverend Jim Jones. The pictures published in news magazines and papers showed groups the dead with arms around each other. Some held their children.
Jones led the nondenominational People's Temple in San Francisco, Calif. He brought his temple from Indiana. In the early 1950s he started using religion to preach extremist left wing views as gospel. He knew that if he "preached" about his belief in communism he would not be accepted. America was not friendly to communists.
Sometime in the 1960s Jones determined there would be a world conflagration and to be safe he moved his congregation to Guyana. In 1977 he moved his flock to Guyana.
From time to time his adherents would practice drinking Kool-Aid. In one practice session people were told the mixture was poisoned.
By 1978 Congressman Leo Ryan decided to investigate stories of people being held against their will at Jonestown. He went to Jonestown with reporters to investigate and bring with him anyone who wanted to return to America.
When the congressman, reporters and temple members, who wanted to leave Jonestown, were boarding airplanes, Jones' followers opened fire killing the congressman and others with him. Meanwhile Jim Jones was passing out the Kool Aid and 900 people perished, including over 300 children.
Jones' congregation followed him without question and died. The Jonestown Massacre is the origin of phrase, "drinking the Kool-Aid."
Asking us to vote for candidates who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act - ObamaCare is asking us to drink the Kool Aid. Mitt Romney has made the false assertion that it is a government take over of health care. The Tampa Bay Times' Politifact.com awarded this claim the 2010 "The Lie of the Year."
ObamaCare is insurance reform. It says that insurance companies cannot discriminate against you if you have had cancer, diabetes or any other preexisting condition. It says that if you are receiving Medicare your prescription costs will be reduced and the donut hole will be closed. It says that if you are a small business you have a tax credit for the premiums you pay for your employees' health insurance. It says insurance must not apply lifetime limits.
The law says that insurance companies must pay for preventative care like well baby exams without a copayment. It says that an insurance company must use 80 percent of the premiums it collects to provide for care of its policy holders.
Equally important in the Affordable Care Act is what it doesn't require. It doesn't require you to go to a government doctor. It doesn't form death panels. It doesn't tell you which insurance plan you must have.
The most controversial part of the Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate, was the brain child of the conservative Heritage Foundation and adopted by Romney Care in Massachusetts. Romney Care was the blue print for the Affordable Care Act. Without health insurance people delay or cannot afford treatment. The American Cancer Society has said, "(t)he Affordable Care Act will save lives from cancer." action.acscan.org/site/DocServer/Affordable_Care_Act_Through_the_Cancer_Lens_Final.pdf?docID=18421
Mr. Romney has pledged to repeal Romney Care/ Affordable Care Act and has shown a persistent pattern of deceit on the subject.
Politicfact.com has found the following Romney statements to be "Pants on Fire" false:
"President Obama's health care law "represents a government takeover of health care;" "The Massachusetts health care plan "dealt with 8 percent of our population," far less than the "100 percent of American people" affected by President Barack Obama's health care law;" President Obama is "ending Medicare as we know it."
On Romney's Medicare news release the Tampa Times concluded: "Overall, then, the Romney news release is a talking point in search of facts."
Do not drink Mr. Romney's Kool Aid.
EDITOR'S NOTE - Richard Clark, Escanaba, practices personal injury law throughout the Upper Peninsula. He can be reached at uppermichiganlaw.com/richard-clark.html