Yesterday left me so unbelievably confused. There were points where I was beginning to think I was losing my mind. I simply couldn’t grasp what was happening. As you recall, on Thursday, June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court announced their decision on the legality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), as it is legally known, or ObamaCare, as it is politically known.
My initial confusion came while watching the news services. They were all telling me that SCOTUS had upheld the Act’s legality…well, all except Fox. At first Fox reported the law was struck down. But I digress. I could not, for the life of me, figure out who the “h-e-double hockey sticks”, SCOTUS was. The only Scotus I knew was John Duns Scotus, O.F.M. Duns Scotus was one of the most important theologians of the high middle ages and a Scotsman. He died in 1308. I was fairly confident he didn’t give a rip about ACA let alone have the authority to uphold or overturn the law. Then it dawned on me: Supreme Court of the United States. I get it. Unfortunately, things didn’t improve.
There was a bunch of spleen venting on Facebook. I seriously considered turning off the computer, but I didn’t. While what ensued was confusing, I also thought it was delightfully amusing as well. In the past, when I was younger, I would have been irate. Not yesterday. I was amused. And confused. My favorite was a collection of FB postings from people who hated the decision and wanted to move to a country that fell more in line with their worldview: Canada. The problem is many, if not all, of these folks seemed really, really conservative. Canada, if you didn’t know, isn’t. For example, Canada has “socialized medicine”. The great irony is that many of those who despised SCOTUS’ decision thought the USA had just hit socialist rock bottom. Their solution to avoid American socialism was to voluntarily accept Canadian socialism. Confused.
By the way, everyone who glibly announces Obama is a socialist and dragging us down into the vortex of socialist horror really confuses me. I admit I was not a political science major in college. I have read neither The Communist Manifesto nor The Wealth of Nations, but I am fairly confident that the good old US of A is firmly in the capitalist camp and not about to switch allegiances anytime soon. The reason I know this: I lived in England from 1982 to 1987. This, of course, was in the dark period of Margaret Thatcher’s leadership. (That sentence is a big hint as to my political leanings.) The Labour Party that opposed her and the Tories were, for the most part, REAL socialists. Trust me. Tony Benn, Michael Foot, and Neil Kinnock make President Obama look like Orin Hatch…relatively speaking. Confused.
I was also confused by the fact that in addition to not fully grasping what Canada or real socialists are “about”, some of my fellow Americans don’t even get what WE are “about”. I fully understand how one might misunderstand Canada. It is, after all, that remote, exotic and mysterious place to our north. (Note to any Canadians who read this: that previous sentence was meant as a compliment.) But at least try to grasp the basics of your own nation, please. One guy wrote on FB that he was going to Canada and coming back “in four months when he (Obama) was out of office.” Ahhhh. Four months from June 28 would be roughly October 28 or nine days before the election which will determine if Obama continues or ends his presidency in January, 2013. If that guy carries through on his wishes, he is gonna waste a lot gas driving back and forth to Canada. Confused…but seemingly not as confused as that guy.
I am most confused by the assumption by many people that yesterday’s SCOTUS decision is evidence that the American system is hopelessly broken. I thought it showed the system works pretty darn well. Certainly it works as well as the founding fathers had hoped. ACA was passed by BOTH the Senate and House of Representatives, and then signed by the President. Admittedly, the process was partisan, but that doesn’t mean the overall system is flawed. It simply means it is time for our elected officials to start working together for the common good and stop working to get their party re-elected. The real evidence that the system works beautifully was clear yesterday. People who didn’t like it had the right to challenge it. They did. The neutral SCOTUS ruled that the “rules” were followed and ACA was valid. Whether you like it or hate it, it was the product of a system which was followed. It is the product of a system that works. Even better, and not at all confusing in my mind, is the fact that the SCOTUS was evenhanded in its decision. Justice Anthony Kennedy, appointed by Ronald Reagan, moderate Republican, voted against it. Kennedy is widely viewed as a moderate on the court. He is often the “swing vote.” And Chief Justice John Roberts, appointed by George W. Bush, conservative Republican, voted for it. Roberts is clearly viewed as a conservative.
Ultimately, we should be grateful we live in a country that is guided by the rule of law and has a system which fairly determines the validity of new laws as well as any human beings can. We could, on the other hand, live in Syria or Somalia or Burma. That would be very confusing.