Unspoken Truths: Bain, Romney and the latest Obama Campaign Ad

Don’t bitch. If you backed away from the Occupy movement and threw money  at Democrats ahead of the presidential election out of some pragmatic retreat to make  sure Obama got re-elected, or because it was time to “face reality,” believing that if one side has super PACs then we have to fight fire with fire, or if you threw in the towel about campaign finance reform and the repeal of Citizen’s United, you’ve got nothing to bitch about. If you are a Republican, you can shut up as well. The hyperbolic vitriol that has become and that is the campaign on both sides is exactly what you get when you concede perverse nonsense such as money equals free speech.

This week a super PAC supporting the Obama campaign, Priorities USA Action released an ad placing blame against Romney for the cancer death of a woman who lost her health insurance after Bain, Romney’s company, closed the company where her husband worked. The Kansas City based GST Steel declared bankruptcy and closed in 2001. Romney claims he was not in control of the company at the time, but FCC filings offer a different perspective, clearly showing that he was in control of the company.

In the ad, Joe Soptic, who worked at GST when Bain took control says, “When Mitt Romney and Bain closed the plant, I lost my health care and my family lost their health care. And a short time after that, my wife became ill. “I don’t know how long she was sick, and I think maybe she didn’t say anything because she knew that we couldn’t afford the insurance. And then one day she became ill and I took her up to the Jackson County Hospital and admitted her for pneumonia, and that’s when they found the cancer, and by then it was stage four. It was – there was nothing they could do for her. And she passed away in 22 days.”

The Right reacted with predictable outrage, calling the ad despicable. Rush Limbaugh mocked Soptic on his radio show today. No doubt in the coming days they will attack every aspect of the story, the man and his family. But the argument is a thin one, particularly in light of the veiled re-hashing of the birther issue in the anti-Obama film heavily promoted on  Right-wing radio called “Obama’s America 2016” is little more than a pro-Romney ad parading as journalism by former Reagan Whitehouse functionary and zealot Dinesh D’Souza.

But the ad speaks to a deeper truth, one that the Occupy movement championed and working-class and the poor have known only too painfully. While politics and big business  are a game to the rich and powerful, the true effects of that game, hidden by a complicit or gleefully dumb media are too often written in the lives lost to those policies.

So a factory is closed. Too often it barely merits a mention on the nightly news. If it does, the cold facts report ten, thousand laid off, or twenty thousand jobs outsourced overseas. Missing are the lives of men and women who may not have the capacity, who may be too old, to whom resources  aren’t easily accessible, or  are unable to tear up lifetimes invested in a home. all too often it is the elderly, those of limited means, perhaps invested and over=extended to provide an education for children, or at the age of retirement when their insurance and the pension they worked for their whole lives is suddenly and legally taken from them.

These  are the people, many tens od millions of Americans for whom the loss of a job or insurance is a devastating event that may take years to recover from, may lead to bankruptcy, foreclosure, and choosing a meal over a needed medical checkup, the electric bill over a meal as despair becomes a cruel indignity to honest hardworking people who lost their jobs and livelihoods not to normal or unforseen economic cycles and calamities, but by strategic takeovers, manipulations of the law, greed and uncaring financial gamesmanship.  

When I visited Sarajevo at the height of the Serbian siege, thousands had died of sniper and artillery attacks. Unreported and uncounted were the elderly who froze to death, starved to death in their homes. Untold children died of malnutrition. Hundreds, perhaps thousands died during those 4 long years of disease.  They were not shot or killed by an overt act of war, but were dead just as surely. 

Is there any difference when a company like Bain takes over a factory with the express purpose of carving it up purely for the financial gain of a few. And when a town is decimated by that closing, when someone like Joe Soptic’s wife dies for what amounts fully to greed, who is responsible for that death? If a couple must choose between heat and food because their retirement has been stolen and they succumb to pneumonia or the effects of cold or malnutrition, who is responsible for that, when the act of ending their retirement was a fully unnecessary and wholly self-serving act? If a mother and  child cannot properly afford pre or post-natal care because her healthcare was discontinued so that a few  stockholders could afford a bigger house, a fancier car or another European vacation, and the child dies, or suffers, who is responsible for that?

Interestingly, and sadly, there will be American’s who are unsympathetic to the pain of men like Joe Soptic, and maybe America needs to confront that darker side of itself to understand the stakes, and those who would lead us down a wholly inhumane and unrighteous path. Perhaps that’s the tactic; to draw out the extremist Right and push Romney into the corner with them, clinging to nakedly cruel, short-sighted and unAmerican positions from which they cannot escape to hide behind the lies, confusion and innuendo they have cloaked themselves in up to now.

About 900poundgorilla

W.C. Turck is a Chicago playwright and the author of four widely acclaimed books.His latest is "The Last Man," a prophetic novel of a world ruled by a single corporation. His first novel, "Broken: One Soldier's Unexpected Journey Home," was reccommended by the National Association of Mental Health Institutes. His 2009 Memoir, "Everything for Love" chronicled the genocide in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His third book "Burn Down the Sky" is published exclusively on Amazon Kindle. It was in Sarajevo at the height of the siege where he met and married his wife, writer and Artist Ana Turck. FOX NEWS, ABC, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune and The Joliet Herald covered their reunion after the war. He helped organized relief into Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Turck has been a guest on WMAQ-TV, WLS in Chicago, WCPT, WBBM radio, National Public Radio, Best Of the Left and the Thom Hartmann show. He has spoken frequently on Human Rights, Genocide and Nationalism. In 2011, his play in support of the Occupy Movement, "Occupy My Heart-a revolutionary Christmas Carol" recieved national media attention and filled theaters to capacity across Chicago. He remains an activist to the cause of human rights and international peace. View all posts by 900poundgorilla

2 responses to “Unspoken Truths: Bain, Romney and the latest Obama Campaign Ad

  • LL

    You kidding, right? A woman,who was insured btw, dies of cancer some 5 years after a steel plant closes and you bring up Sarajevo. What is wrong with you?

    • 900poundgorilla

      LL,

      There are probably a great many things “wrong” with me, but moral clarity and empathy are not two of them.
      Actions have consequences both intended and unintended. That is why I brought up Sarajevo. Serb leaders will legally escape culpability for those not killed directly by their actions. That is patently unjust and immoral in my opinion. There is ample case law for people becoming sick mny years later over some toxicity of some sort. Cumulative lead poisoning, asbestos, radiation exposure. But that isn’t the point, and the timeline employed the Right to discredit this issue is a fraud. The point was that working class people cannot always easily rebound from the loss of a job and/or health insurance. The poor may not rebound at all. It may take years or decades to recover, if at all. Such a loss may be as devastating as have a home burn down. But a home burning down is an accident(normally). Creating a business whose sole purpose is to preditorily takeover companies in a scheme to dismantle them for profit seems to me perverse and immoral, and the Soptics are the face of that. Of course we know it isn’t illegal, because the men like Romney who write those laws made it legal. Just imagine if crack dealers could write and pass their own laws.

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