Monday, December 13, 2010

A Small Victory, But The Battle Rages On

Ok, I've been avoiding politics for a while, but today was a big jump in the right direction.  A Federal judge declared that the Obamacare mandate to force individuals to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional.  This is the good news.  The bad news is that for one, the people in charge of our government had to be told this by a judge. Evidently they are lacking the ability to actually read and understand the U.S. Constitution enough to know what they should have learned in eighth grade social studies.  The second piece of bad news is that there are a whole lot of people in the country who also lack that ability and still think it is terrible and evil that our government can't force it's citzens to engage in business those citizens don't want to engage in.  Emmanuel Goldstien, of 2600 magazine, tweeted that he is "About to leave a country where the mere notion of universal health care is unconstitutional. Looking forward to rejoining civilization."  (@emmangoldstein if you want to read it youtself)

Like so many issues that get lots of press in today's political world, the focus is in the wrong place.  Would it be terrible if every American could walk into any hospital or doctor's office and get whatever medical care they needed?  No.  Is it feasible?  No.  Does our federal government have the Constitutional power or mandate to provide this kind of service?  No.  That's supposed to be the end of the story.  No feel good, wouldn't it be nice if we did, emotional appeal.  The Congress and President Obama, before any bill was proposed, any press release written, or any public opinion polls taken, should have looked to the Constitution and said "Does the Federal government have the right and ability to provide any of this?"  The current administration is far from the first one that is guilty of not asking those questions, nor does either party have clean hands on the matter. 

So, if this is such a pervasive problem, what is the solution?  First is education.  We The People need to get back and learn the Constitution, it's limits, it's powers and it's intents.  Second is accountability.  We need to show our elected representatives that we know what they can and cannot do, and hold those officials responsible when they step outside the bounds.  That's what this recent mid-term election was.  But will the momentum hold up, or will we get distracted?  Andrew Jackson, Thomas Paine, and Wendall Phillips all gave us varations of the famous quote "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance."  There will be legal appeals of this ruling, and more importantly, there will be future elections. 

No comments:

Post a Comment