It is a truly great day for the advance of human dignity. The House of Representatives passed healthcare reform that will prevent 19,000 deaths a year and eliminate 45,000 bankruptcies a year.
Where did I get these numbers? From listening to C-Span coverage of the debate on the House floor. Over and over, Democrats took to the rostrum and spoke of people senselessly dying because they simply couldn’t afford medical treatment. The treatment exists, sometimes right up the street; but for 19,000 people a year, it is a cruel taunt. Like starving to death while watching a chocolate cake placed out of reach behind iron bars.
Similarly, whole families are going bankrupt because one member gets sick. Savings, houses, the trappings of a lifetime--all gone just because fate strikes. Imagine getting a hospital bill for $200,000 and having to sell your family’s house and go into debt the rest of your life. You can no longer afford college for your kids, or even a decent birthday gift. Your dreams crash and burn. Why do you deserve this? What did you do?
The above scenarios are hideous and absolutely intolerable in a country that claims to be a great bastion of freedom. It nauseated me to see angry flushed Republicans get up and rail about how the reform was taking away “freedom” from the “American people.” They must mean the freedom to die while treatment is across the street; or the freedom to be forced into bankruptcy through no fault of your own.
I want to see these disgusting Republicans go to the bedside of a mother wasting away from lack of affordable treatment and explain how they are defending her freedom.
I want to see these disgusting Republicans go to the foreclosure sale of a father who lost everything to medical bills and explain how they are defending his freedom.
I want to see these disgusting Republicans go up to a woman who can’t get coverage for her child with diabetes and explain how they are defending her freedom and her child’s freedom.
Apparently for Republicans, the “American people” do not include those Americans who are dying and penniless at the doorstep of callous insurance companies.
Nancy Pelosi said it best in the final speech of the night, wielding The Declaration of Independence with passion and skill. We have a right to life, liberty and THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. You can’t pursue happiness if hospitals refuse to cure your illness unless you become a slave to debt. You can't pursue happiness if you live in terror of losing your job, even if you hate it, because it provides insurance.
The insurance companies have our freedom by the testicles and ovaries and are crushing tight.
Pelosi emphasized that this bill would free up the entrepreneurial spirit of the people. With health insurance guaranteed, we can unlock potentials of our souls to flourish.
This is the true essence of the pursuit of happiness.
The repulsive Republicans have a malignant conception of freedom. Freedom to be cruel, callous and corrupt. To support evil. For it is indeed evil to let human beings waste away for corporate profit. You are effectively looking in the eyes of a dying person--someone who could be saved by your actions as a leader of a wealthy nation--and saying, “Your freedom doesn't count."
Let me end with a telling article in today’s Washington Post, “Republican Leaders Stir Up The Tea Party Crowd” by Dana Milbank.
During the debate in the House, dozens of Republican lawmakers walked out onto the balcony and “proceeded to incite an unruly crowd.” This is a crowd that earlier had hurled racist and anti-gay epithets at Democrats. They screamed insults at Pelosi and others, “You communists! You socialists! You hate America!”
This angry ignorant vicious crowd is the antithesis of decency; and yet Republican leaders fanned their hatred:
The tea-party demonstrators chanted "Nancy! Nancy!" and held signs saying such things as "Red Queen Nancy -- Joseph Stalin Was Not a Saint."
That would have been the end of it, had Republican lawmakers not stirred things up. First Reps. Buck McKeon (Calif.), Rob Bishop (Utah) and Mike Turner (Ohio) came out waving signs saying "KILL THE BILL." The crowd went wild. Reps. Mary Fallin (Okla.), Geoff Davis (Ky.) and Bill Posey (Fla.) held the "Don't Tread on Me" flag, and Rep. Pete Sessions (Tex.), head of the House Republicans' 2010 campaign committee, came out with half a dozen colleagues and more kill-the-bill signs. Rep. Jeff Miller (Fla.) dangled an American flag from the balcony.
"That's kind of fun," Fallin said cheerfully after a turn at riling the crowd with signs saying "No" in red letters.
Is this the GOP mentality that controls a large portion of our government? If so, it is a far greater menace than anything the Republicans target.
This is even worse than Rep. Ed Markey's (D-Mass.) accusation that the GOP now stands for "Grandstand, Oppose, and Postone." It means that GOP stands for Grand Old Pogrom.
In the spirit of true healing, we must say to these hate-mongering despicable leaders of surly mobs:
Physician, heal thyself.