The news is health care. We look better to the world than we do to ourselves. America, the beautiful from afar, one nation divisible within. E pluribus unum, in plain English, is not “out of many, one,” but—united we swagger, divided we sprawl. We are noble in spite of half of us.
We join tiny Luxembourg, Cyprus, Iceland, and 33 vastly larger countries in having health care we can believe in. The first to have national health care was Norway in 1912, the most recent, Israel in 1995. It took nearly one hundred years for us to enter the 20th century.
“A victory for common sense,” our president proclaimed, it is the inexorable march of time. The Social Security Act became law in 1935. It survived two challenges to its constitutionality in the Supreme Court. Medicare went into effect in 1965. Seeking to squelch it four years earlier, Ronald Reagan said, “If you don't do this and I don't do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it once was like in America when men were free.” On March 21, 2010, the House of Representatives passed “H.R. 3590 The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” aka “The Health Care Reform Bill” by a vote of 219-212.
What so proudly we hail is merely doing what is right, what is civilized, what is compassionate. It is reform long overdue. It is goodwill, majestic and monumental. And, without doubt, it is historic. Future Pete Seegers and Bruce Springsteens of the world will sing about it. This is what “you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children.”
I’m not celebrating yet. I can’t raise a glass and drink to “Change” while roughly half of Congress and half the country see their glass as half empty—only now, after having drunk so deeply from its bounty for so long. I can’t applaud leveling the playing field while unruly bullies stomp their feet and scream and do everything they can to break up the game unless they can have their way. Can’t cheer until I can sit them down and say, “Calm down… calm down… that’s it… no, now calm down… take a deep breath… shh, calm... that’s it… breathe… breathe… now say you’re sorry for telling people who didn’t do anything to you, “I wish you were dead.”
The shabby slings and arrows of the Right should be history, as in passé. They tried everything: “death panels” and “granny killing,” “socialism” and “Naziism,” in desperation, spit and slurs. When they didn’t work, they couldn’t wait even a day to get even uglier. Now it’s bricks and guns. Worse, death threats to the children of legislators who supported the reform bill!
In the spirit of never say die—unless lying or threatening—Republicans cite that 34 Democrats voted against the bill is an argument for their side. I see it differently: that 34 Democrats voted against it shows a party with 34 members who voted their consciences or on principle. Let me spell that for them—principle, not principal. Although not a single Republican broke rank and voted anything but no, it still doesn’t seem to occur to them that while they indiscriminately hurl slurs of Naziism at anyone who opposes them, they are the ones who march in lockstep.
They like those isms. An apparent disciple, vw5Ohguy, twittered:
With passage of the wealth redistribution plan...er, I mean Health care "reform", we just took a giant jack-booted step towards socialism.