The GOP’s Waterloo

It may come as shocking news to many conservatives, but according to the Declaration of Independence – a document that embodies the essence of what this nation is all about and serves as the foundation for our Constitution — “The Pursuit of Happiness” is one of the three explicitly declared “unalienable Rights,” endowed no less by the Creator upon the People, on absolute par with the right to Life and the right to Liberty.1

What may also come as a surprise to them is that the fact that these three rights are fundamental is deemed by that same document to be itself a “self-evident” truth.

And, to top it off, the document declared that equally “self-evident” is that “Governments are instituted among Men” for securing these three self-evident rights.

Now, given that happiness cannot be pursued unless one has his or health secured, as much as one would need their Life and their Liberty secured by law and policy, it goes without saying that Government is fundamentally obligated to guarantee the People a minimum of healthcare, just as it is fundamentally obligated to guarantee the People their life and their liberty.

I make these obvious observations simply to point out that the seemingly “principled” platform upon which the GOP has been waging its pitched and passionate battles against healthcare reform is far from sturdy and in fact can easily be demolished by pointing out that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, in letter and in spirit, refute directly and indirectly the twin ideological pillars upon which all GOP talking points have been based. Healthcare is indeed a fundamental right and not a mere privilege, and the Government is not only within its right, but is obligated to step in and protect and defend the People, and is as such obligated because to do so is to fulfill one of the very basic reasons that justify its existence and arrogation.

So, Welcome to the 20th Century, America — or, rather: glad to see you are making the first step towards catching up with what the rest of the world has deemed a basic right for a multitude of decades.

Stunning fact number one is that merely being able to bring the healthcare bill to the Senate floor to debate has, amazingly, required a pitched battle, with last minute suspense and drama. If memory serves me right, it didn’t occur to anyone back in 1994 to block debate on the Senate floor during the Clinton healthcare reform. It was thought back then — and it does seem like a long, long time ago — to be fundamentally undemocratic to mobilize explicitly and openly to kill not just the bill but a debate over the bill. Nowadays, such openly undemocratic moves are not only deemed business as usually, but are proudly launched and pursued by the GOP as obviously morally justified. Well – all I have to say is, thank God we clinched Franken.

Stunning fact number two: realizing that they will be hurting only themselves if they continued with their erstwhile delusional assertion that there is nothing wrong with the healthcare system as it is and that people are happy with what they have, Republicans are finally openly declaring that reform is needed and has been needed for quite a while. So after months of stalling, sabotaging, and simply saying “no,” the GOP finally produced their version of healthcare reform early in November — no more than two weeks ago.

Now, what is stunning is not that their reform completely missed the point of addressing the problem of covering the 40 million people who are uninsured (according to the COB, the plan would increase the ranks of the uninsured to 52 Million by 2019);2 nor is it that the proposal, in its totality would cost $61 Billion over 10 years (that’s less than what 8 months in Iraq costs us, at $2 billion/week);3 nor is it that the centerpiece of the proposal is allowing people to shop for insurance outside of their state, a proposition that insurance companies would love to see turned into law, giving them the flexibility to base their businesses at whatever state gives them the greatest flexibility to increase their revenues and suppress those pesky costs.

No, what is stunning is that the GOP has the face and the temerity to assume the mantle of reasoned and thoughtful reform when not once during the 12 years they controlled Congress from 1994 to 2006, and not once during the 8 years they controlled the White House from 2001 to 2009, did they propose serious healthcare reform. Instead, it was during their watch that the Doughnut Hole was created and a misguided and thankfully ill-fated attempt at tampering with Social Security was launched.

A Republican senator is going about hoping that the defeat of the healthcare bill will be President Obama’s Waterloo.4 It may turn out, ironically, that its passage will be the GOP’s Waterloo. Perhaps the debate that will follow and the passage of a bill that will finally tend to the people who have suffered at the insatiably greedy hands of the insurance industry and those who have carried their water all these years – perhaps at long last the People will wake up and realize that those who have been declaring their allegiance to the little, common man, have been simply lying and deceiving them all this time, and that their allegiance is, as it has always been, with Big Money and those who make their living managing their profit margins by squeezing the little people bloodless.

  1. “Text to the Declaration of Independence.” []
  2. House Republicans offer alternative healthcare proposal.” []
  3. The Iraq War Will Cost Us $3 Trillion, and Much More.” []
  4. Harry Reid’s Remarks on the Senate floor.” []
Ahmed Bouzid wrote The Media Playbook: A handbook for media activism and criticism on Palestine-Israel, published by Dakota Press Publications, March 2003. He can be reached at: ahmed.bouzid@gmail.com. Read other articles by Ahmed, or visit Ahmed's website.

9 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. balkas b b said on November 23rd, 2009 at 10:43am #

    The right of pursuit of happiness, being an overgeneralized statement cannot be understood. I can’t ask the dead men if they knew that it cannot be understood. I can only guess that they knew that, Thus cld say that even with a smile or a sneer realizing how many people such a ‘promise’ wld deceive.

    In any case, hands up to people who know what happiness is. I think that even today most amers still reify the word happiness; they thing it’s an object they can run after and catch.

    Right to life and right to liberty, likewise being overgeneralized, cannot be understood.
    Liberty appears also objectified. In addition, also being an overgeneralized term, it cannot be understood.

    And it is not solely amers who objectify high terms; other people do, too. And what the fathers of declaration of independece said had been said by many rulers before. tnx

  2. Random Walk said on November 23rd, 2009 at 11:42am #

    The Constitution does not say much of anything about healthcare.

    Perhaps the word search function isn’t working. Please supply us with the direct reference to healthcare within the Constitution. Thank you.

  3. b99 said on November 23rd, 2009 at 12:18pm #

    Direct reference in the constitution? Who depends on direct references to make inferences as to what our rights are? Based on the Declaration of Independence, we can certainly add an amendment to the constitution regarding the right to healthcare.

  4. David A. Smith said on November 23rd, 2009 at 2:43pm #

    Hey RW – The Constitution doesn’t say much of anything about free markets either. In fact, doesn’t even mention any kind of market? What’s up with that?

  5. Richard said on November 23rd, 2009 at 3:33pm #

    There is certainly a right to amend the Constitution to provide health care. There is no way it would pass at present, but it is certainly permitted.

    My objection to the proposed legislation is that we’re rewarding the insurance industry for failing us so miserably. If we want health care for all, enact it directly. EMTALA did that, and that’s why everyone has access to emergency health care.

  6. balkas b b said on November 23rd, 2009 at 3:41pm #

    Damn it! We are still haunted by dead men. The men who put US constitution together are all dead. But they haunt and tortures bns of people.
    And it started with coded language; understood by plutocrats only.

    Constitution was written in such a way that no matter what atrocities US does, they are apsolutely correct. What’s the prestidigitaion that accomlishes this?
    The right of america [no. one, of course, not no.s two, three, four..] to defend ist interest.
    The shibboleth works every time. For hitler his: alle deutschen in einem land worked well. The problem arose when hitler wanted nore than that; on way to it he destroyed germany.

    To be safe, class numero uno in US adds “enhancing US security”; “defending freedoms” and “greatness of america”,etc.
    And how can anyone argue about anyone’s right to defend self and especially a land which god blesses?
    So amers numero uno even hijack god! Now, that is arrogance but supported by wmd and other weapons [but u can hear them whisper, The hell with god; we want more drones, tanks!] tnx

  7. Chris Cheer said on November 23rd, 2009 at 5:38pm #

    The Declaration of Independence has no legal standing – it was just advertising for the war of independence. The US Constitution differed from the Declaration in many ways.
    None of this legality should matter – in a democracy “public policy matches public opinion.”
    Needless to say, the Constitution does not mention democracy.

  8. bozh said on November 23rd, 2009 at 6:12pm #

    Chris Cheer,
    Thanks for correction! As u say, declaration of independence did not deal with laws!
    I seldom write about that but often about the constitution as being root evil for al US crimes against people. I think i meant to mention that the people who wrote declaration of independence also wrote constitution. But i might be wrong about that as well. Well some people did! tnx

  9. B99 said on November 23rd, 2009 at 7:26pm #

    Public policy need not match public opinion. There are moral imperatives that require public policy to supercede democratic public opinion – say on slavery or capital punishment, etc.

    The Declaration has no legal standing – but it can serve as a basis for establishing ideals from which to draw precedent.