There's a Pink Elephant in the Room, Too - Pacific Standard

There's a Pink Elephant in the Room, Too

Even if you're agnostic on the matter of death panels, why is it OK to off grandma and not gramps?
Author:
Publish date:

Our Tom Jacobs just penned a post on an elephant in the room that the U.S. media has apparently just tumbled into — that some of Obama's critics may delegitimize him because his dad was black. I think there's a bigger quadruped in the room that's trampling around the Obama administration and its critics that no one's yet had the daring to address — sexism.

To wit, why is every reference to death panels got granny in the crosshairs and not gramps?

Look at Newsweek"The Case for Killing Granny: Rethinking End of Life Care." Author Susan Jacoby laments in the Washington Post that it's "impossible to have a rational discussion about policy differences with people who run around screaming about killing Granny." In the heartland, a nurse writes to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that she's grown weary of hearing about "pulling Granny's plug."

Too mainstream media for you? Randall Terry, he of impeccable anti-baby killer credentials, has branched out. At a town hall (the place where granny meets more doom than teen campers in a Friday the 13th flick) in Virginia, the founder of Operation Rescue said of Obamacare's inevitable price tag: "There's no way to pay for this thing without killing granny."

You think it's just a rhetorical device that granny's number is up? Then explain how MSNBC's Joe Scarborough knew just how to pose the question when grilling Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty: "Having three people lining up and saying 'granny dies, grandpa lives,' that's quite another." It's subtle, but did you see it? Granny dies, but grandpa lives.

The president himself hasn't done much to dispel the trend: "The rumor that's been circulating a lot lately is this idea that somehow the House of Representatives voted for death panels that will basically pull the plug on grandma because we've decided that it's too expensive to let her live anymore."

So no matter where you stand on the existence of death panels, there seems to be some genuine bipartisanship on who they're gunning for.

This gender disparity is a little frightening. Maybe given demographics, all the bureaucrats figure grandpa's already dead. Or maybe granny's just lower hanging fruit — grandpa's rocking on the porch exercising his Second Amendment rights while shouting, "Get off my lawn." Maybe it's got something to do with John McCain (or Joan Rivers). Or it might be due to her advanced age or other medically specific factors that granny is just gol' durn more expensive to care for.

But beware: There will be collateral damage if granny is the first to fail her boards, whether it's an increase in imports of those crappy Chinese-made quilts or a generation of grandchildren whose birthdays were forgotten.

Sign up for our free e-newsletter.

Are you on Facebook? Become our fan.

Follow us on Twitter.

Add our news to your site.

Related