Thom Tillis Staffer Helpfully Suggests Woman With Cancer Go Naked Or Something? Unclear.
North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis is in a tough race for re-election. His Democratic opponent, Cal Cunningham, is a former state senator and military officer. He also doesn't have heartless assholes on his staff, to our knowledge. Who, to our knowledge, does? Hi Thom Tillis!
Bev Veals of Carolina Beach is a three-time cancer survivor. She called her senator's office because she was concerned that she might lose the health insurance that Republicans pretend they'll protect. She'd already faced medical bankruptcy and her husband wasn't working thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak. Instead of empathy and concern, Veals received a Jerky Boys performance, which she recorded.
VEALS: You're saying that, if you can't afford it, you don't get to have it? That includes health care?
Whenever someone says, “You're saying that ..." it means they're recording you or they're performing one-half of a phone conversation on a TV show. The staffer was as stupid as he was evil because he continued his Ayn Rand-inspired dialogue.
MONSTER: Yeah, just like if I want to go to the store and buy a new dress shirt. If I can't afford that dress shirt, I don't get to get it.
He's not even comparing health care to clothing essentials, like a warm coat on a winter's day. He's talking about fashion, luxuries ... a new dress shirt. Also, who's even bought a dress shirt in the past six months? Most people in the dress shirt-required industries are working from home.
Senator Thom Tillis staffer tells woman with cancer who doesn’t have health care that she’s out of luck. “Just lik… https://t.co/MUbbeAA5Eb— Kristen Clarke (@Kristen Clarke) 1599652084.0
VEALS: But health care is something that people need! Especially if they have cancer.
MONSTER: Well, you got to find a way to get it.
VEALS: So what do I do in the meantime, sir?
MONSTER: Sounds like something you're going to have to figure it out.
“Figure it out"? Let's see: Pandemic divided by no job, no money, carry the three. Tillis was of course upset to learn that his staffer didn't have the decency to lie to Veals.
Tillis's office has apologized after Veals came forward about the exchange: "The way Mrs. Veals was talked to by a staff assistant in our Washington office was completely inappropriate and violates the code of conduct Senator Tillis has for his staff, which is why immediate disciplinary action has been taken."
Republicans have never given a damn about sick people, especially those with the tremendous character flaw of losing their job during a pandemic. During the 2012 GOP primaries, Ron Paul was cheered when he shrugged off Wolf Blitzer's hypothetical scenario regarding a man who'll die without health care.
PAUL: That's what freedom is all about ... taking your own risk, the idea that you have to prepare to take care of everybody.
Yet, Republicans insist that we must fund the hell out of the military and law enforcement, because defense of land and property is what truly matters to them. (In fairness, both Paul and Son oppose the militarization of the police.)
When Blitzer asked Paul if society should let the uninsured die, the audience of Republican ghouls shouted, “YES!" Paul tried to answer with some Jesus-y crap about churches stepping up and how we should “help our neighbors." Of course, the same people having near orgasms over the prospect of poor people dying aren't about to drop an extra $100 in the collection plate to pay for their neighbor's chemotherapy.
Republicans noticeably had no platform at their convention last month. However, David Frum wrote in the Atlantic that it's obvious what positions Republicans hold. They just don't want to advertise them because they're so monstrous. Frum described the not-so-secret GOP position on health care:
Health care is a purchase like any other. Individuals should make their own best deals in the insurance market with minimal government supervision. Those who pay more should get more. Those who cannot pay must rely on Medicaid, accept charity, or go without.
North Carolina Republicans even rejected Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act because Barack Obama's face was printed on all the money. Medicaid expansion would've benefitted 300,000 to 600,000 North Carolinians like Veal. (That number is likely greater now thanks to COVID-19.)
Tillis blocked Medicaid expansion as speaker of the North Carolina House. He campaigned hard against the ACA and his contempt for the sick and the poor helped him unseat Kay Hagan in 2014.
Tillis's staffer shouldn't get points for honesty for stating what Republicans actually believe, and the senator's pleasant-sounding lies won't help North Carolinians who are struggling right now. The only thing that will is removing Tillis from office in November.
Donate to Cal Cunningham here.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."