File this under bad decision-making: A restaurant owner in Arkansas named Johnny Howard decided to use the following message on his marquee: "ObamaCare America's punishment for slavery years." Within 45 minutes, Smokin' Joe's Ribhouse was slammed with complaints, which I feel like is at least a little bitta silver lining to the ugly debacle. Howard scrambled to replace the politically-charged message with "Why cook? Get some carry out." But he's still rather defensive about his previous commentary.
"I apologize for the sign. It's offending people, as it did. I didn’t intend for it to be racist-oriented at all. It's the policy [the Affordable Care Act], and I made the mistake of wording it in the wrong fashion. The policy. It’s not the person, it’s the policy," Howard told 40/29 TV. Uh ... huh. Sadly, the precise target of this man's ire is only part of the problem. What's more, his poor "wording" is only one example of the nasty rhetoric coming from the right ...
Dr. Ben Carson, an African-American neurosurgeon and Fox News contributor, called Obamacare "the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery." And last month, Rush Limbaugh said, "[Obamacare]’s the law of the land. What else at one time was the ‘law of the land’? Slavery!”
The fact that guys like Howard and Carson and Limbaugh don't realize what they're doing when they liken the Affordable Care Act to "slavery" is absolutely astounding. It's the very same extremist, ignorant kind of talk they've been spewing for years -- likening abortion to slavery and gay marriage to slavery. Yes, all of that is just like buying and selling actual human beings like objects. Yup! Suuuure, buddies.
Here's the thing: This talk coming out of the mouths of guys like Limbaugh and trickling down to guys like Johnny Howard is twisted, shameful, deeply ignorant and irresponsible. But it's not even worth getting ourselves really bent out of shape and pretzel-twisted over. Because ultimately, these guys are only serving to make themselves look imbecilic.
It's not exactly confidence-boosting for your political party when you keep throwing out jaw-dropping analogies strictly for their shock value. It's juvenile and sad. And a perfectly good reason why an all-time high of 74 percent of Americans disapprove of the way the Republicans in Congress are behaving.
What do you think about what happened at this Arkansas restaurant -- and 'slavery' in general being used to describe anything Republicans don't like?