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This Month's Scripture Verse:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
2 Timothy 3:1-5


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Which Shot Rings Out The Loudest?

Last week saw the tragic shooting of Republican congressmen as they practiced for a baseball game. There is no excuse for the shooting regardless of why the shooter was upset. The shooter himself, like other active shooters, was a deeply disturbed person. But he was a deeply disturbed person with a gun.

For the next few weeks, we will be awaiting the release and passage of the Senate health care plan. As Obama tried to do with his attempts to fast track the TPP, the details are being hidden from the public. And we should think about that fact. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers believe that at least some significant legislation, in what we call a democracy, should be hidden from the public while it is being crafted and even voted on.

It is unlikely that the Senate is hiding the writing of this bill so as to give the public a surprise gift. What is more plausible is that, like the writing of the TPP, much of this healthcare plan is not even being written by our Senators. Rather, this health care plan, like the House version and Obamacare, is being written by health care industry representatives and is being designed to primarily benefit the providers of health insurance and health care rather than the health care recipients. It isn't that those providers should not be represented by our government in the writing of this bill. It is that the recipients of any new health care plan should be the primary beneficiaries of any health care plan especially since we have a voting, rather than financial, relationship with our Senators.

Why mention these two events together? Because both involve making death imminent to a group of people. An active shooter makes death seem immediate for his/her targets. Likewise, especially because of medical care expenses, a wrongly crafted health care bill can do the same to those who are ill and do not have financial means to pay for medical care. Even more so before Obamacare, many people delayed getting screened or treated until they could afford to. With some diseases, this is as good as pointing a gun at one's head, but these people had no choice.

Certainly gunshots are louder. But bad health care plans cover a greater geographical range than any gun can and can hurt, or even kill, far more people. And with the Senate employing their 'cone of silence' in the writing of their health care bill, Senators are hoping that this acts as a silencer for the weapon of their choice.

What makes the Senate's tactics allowable here is that guns blazing from an active shooter are louder than any legislation passed by our elected officeholders. What makes the Senate's tactics optional for our Senators is that we, the public, have far more sympathy for the victims of a mass shooting than we will have for the victims of any health care legislation. And what makes the Senate's tactics practical for our Senators is that we are more enraged by the actions of an active shooter than we are by the actions of elected officials when they write health care laws that benefit wealthy elites more than they benefit the people who are in need of health care.

There is one more thing that makes the Senate's tactics employable and that includes us too. We had one large march the day after the inauguration but smaller protests afterwards. Such a display of public participation does not grab the attention of our elected officials. Rather, the message that such participation communicates is that the most we voters will do in response to anything our government does is to get mad. And our elected officials are counting on that anger subsiding and giving way to fate come election time.


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