One of the things that really puzzle me is how people can get worked up over the most absurd things. Take the Affordable Care Act. There has been a concerted effort by those opposed to this reform to scuttle it by whipping up anger against any and all aspects of it. I find it really despicable how far some states have gone to prevent people from signing up for health insurance under the new system.
But the opposition is so irrational, they have stooped to even the most trivial of things. Even though I have never been to the healthcare.gov site, I was familiar with the smiling woman who was on the homepage. It looked like the kind of stock image favored by organizations that want to give an impression of friendliness and vague ethnicity that everyone can relate to, like the common one on the right that many organizations use.
But apparently people glommed on to the healthcare.gov woman as a symbol of the enemy and she started getting attacked, with people suggesting that she may not even be a US citizen, as if that even remotely mattered. Her photo has now been removed and the woman has now given an interview describing the reaction she received. She gives only her first name (Adriana) because she does not want to be an even greater target for the animosity.
Dubbed the “enigmatic Mona Lisa of health care,” her face was soon mocked, Photoshoped, altered. She became the subject of late-night jokes, partisan hatred and intense speculation.
The saga of the photo started innocuously enough. Adriana responded to an email from someone at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency responsible for the Affordable Care Act’s rollout, about having photos of her and her family taken for free in exchange for allowing the photos to be used to market the new health care law. She was never paid.
She learned over the summer that her photo would be on healthcare.gov’s main page, but she didn’t realize it would become so closely associated with the problems of the glitchy website.
“I mean, I don’t know why people should hate me because it’s just a photo. I didn’t design the website. I didn’t make it fail, so I don’t think they should have any reasons to hate me,” Adriana told ABC News.
Welcome to the internet age, Adriana, where people don’t need a rational reason to start hating someone and can depend on enough other people joining them to fan the flames and create a controversy out of nothing.