While our in-over-his-head president and his ignorant minions go about the quiet destruction of a government 250 years in the making, their party - and one member in particular - is behaving in the most despicable political manner I’ve seen in my four score years.
Mitch McConnell and his lieutenants are putting together legislation creating a massive health care law that will eventually contain costs amounting to more than one-fifth of our national economy. It will involve medical and life-saving care - and access to it or denial of it - for nearly a quarter of our entire population. And they’re doing it in so much secrecy some members of their own party haven’t seen it and don’t know what’s in it.
The intent is to spring it on the entire Senate and, without disclosure, debate or a single public hearing - and without disclosing the cost to the nation much less other details - force it through the entire body.
Never in the long history of Congress has one political party been so underhanded, domineering, ruthless and dishonest in its headlong abuse of its own power on such critical legislation. Some weeks ago, the House pulled a similar cowardly act by passing an equally large package without knowing costs or it even being read by more than a handful of members. But that blanket violation of public trust is about to hit an even lower low.
If McConnell is successful, most estimates are some 20 million Americans will suddenly be without health care. Many of them with pre-existing conditions will just as quickly face abandonment and possible death. Some, being kept alive by care far beyond their own ability to pay and thorough no fault of their own, will be left deserted without a lifesaving safety net.
McConnell is the chief architect of this impending disaster and cowardly act. As Majority Leader, he calls all the shots when it comes to which bills are recognized and which are assigned to the trash heap. He’s also responsible for the conduct of Senate affairs and operation of all its support systems. The buck stops with him!
McConnell is often given credit for being a master of Senate policies and procedures. A man who can pull legislative rabbits out of political hats. But such power and knowledge are beneficial only when used responsibly. And in no case can the word “responsibly” - or any derivation of it - be used to describe what McConnell and his cohorts are doing right now. Far from it. Their conduct and the secret crafting being used to create this piece of unknown verbiage are contemptible and just plain wrong.
Under control of far right Republicans in recent years, Congress has sunk to historic lows in public acceptance. Members have run roughshod over those they were elected to represent. Many have physically cut off constituent contact and some have even proclaimed they don’t have any obligation to respond to public instructions. Attempts to contact many now result in unanswered correspondence, ignored phone calls and locked doors both in the districts and in Washington. Public polls showing overwhelming support or non-support for certain legislative proposals are just flat ignored.
Case in point: the very subject of health care now being secreted by McConnell. Polling - with results as high as 80% favorability - have repeatedly shown the public wants Obamacare - the American Care Act - left in law. Make minor adjustments to improve it if you must. But do not - repeat - do NOT repeal or significantly weaken its provisions. Any bets McConnell is listening? No way.
McConnell has had a burr under his saddle for eight years to kill Obamacare. He’s said so at every available opportunity. Even while his own state was one of the original participants, he pledged to end Obama’s tenancy in the White House at four years (then eight) and his disdain for the ACA was hung around his neck like a sign. You just know that’s the driving force behind his villainous actions now.
Republicans have wanted to kill Social Security. Some still do. They tried their best to kill Medicare and Medicaid. And still are. They worked like Hell to kill the voting rights act. They succeeded in gutting parts of it. Now, they want to strip nearly 50 million Americans of health insurance coverage. And they’re using the most devious and unconscionable methods to do so.
A handful of politicians, beholden to billionaires and their ilk, is now attacking the very core of what government was instituted to do - to provide for the common good and to do those things which we citizens need but cannot do for ourselves. While we often think of establishing a military, building transportation systems, assuring clean water and air, supporting public education and the like as fulfilling that governmental role, certainly providing for the public’s health and access to medical care are as necessary as the rest.
Now, McConnell and his senatorial supporters are leading an attack on government sponsorship of a basic right of citizenship - the right to medical care and to its life-saving services. People won’t just be disenfranchised if they succeed. Certainly, some of them will die.
This is far more than a game of legislative hide-and-seek. This is life and death. McConnell has cast himself in the role of God for this outing. My thoughts on that turn more visibly to the viper.