1sunfight’s Weblog

February 26, 2010

The Rights of the Many

Filed under: politics — eartothaground @ 11:19 pm
Tags: , , ,

Yesterday’s meeting at Blair House did one thing for me: it elucidated the difference between Democrats and Republicans.  It wasn’t the “blank sheet of paper” versus “we’ve got a few things in common” line, though.  It was the fundamental philosophical difference between Democrats and Republicans about the first sentence in the Constitution of the United States.

“We the People, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The Democratic Party appeared to be pushing an interpretation that “we the people” does indeed include all citizens and legal residents of the United States.  The Republican Party, however, appeared not to have such an inclusive interpretation.  While their conversation and Congressman Joe Wilson’s infamous outburst make clear their feelings about illegal immigrants, they also appear to have shifted their definition from individual citizens to individual (which includes corporations, thanks to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling) donors to their campaigns.  Unfortunately, the poor and uninsured don’t tend to rank among rank and file Republicans, so their interests do not coincide.

Further down the preamble, beyond the clause to “establish justice” by making healthcare available and affordable; beyond the clause to “insure domestic tranquility” by making sure that end of life counseling is provided for terminal patients and their families and not mischaracterized as “death panels” by insurance lobbyists and elected representatives; beyond even the clause to “provide for the common defense” by making sure each individual has as much protection from biological ruin, catastrophic illness, economic pillaging, or health-insurer abandonment as is possible; Democrats began and ended the summit standing firmly on the clause which says that the government of the United States has a responsibility to “promote the general welfare.”

The Democratic Party, in this instance, is basing its approach to healthcare as a basic right guaranteed to each citizen and legal resident by the Constitution of the United States.  This doesn’t mean that the government is everyone’s doctor.  This means that, as the President noted yesterday, “we have meat inspectors to make sure the food is good,” the government has a responsibility to make sure everyone has access to health care.  The Republican Party, in this instance, is arguing the opposite.  For them, healthcare is a privilege (that they can afford, so why bother?)  They are, then, not attempting to “form a more perfect union,” because they aren’t worried about their fellows.

My healthcare is just fine.  My family is covered, and thank God those members of my extended family who don’t have it are covered by those who do.  But the larger picture is that it’s not just about me and mine, as the Republican argument has developed.  “Promoting the general welfare” means that I am concerned about the needs of other people, too.

Healthcare, like a good education, isn’t a privilege you’re entitled to only if you can pay for it.  It’s a right written right into the first sentence of the document that governs our country.  It’s nice to know that some people who work on Pennsylvania Avenue know that.

To repeat, the CBO found that premiums go down under health-reform

Obama to GOP: It’s Over

WH and Dems Should Send the Message: Health Means Life; Health Means Freedom

Statements about Health Care

Health-Care Summit Starts With Discussion of Facts, Not Policy

Let’s hope health summit wasn’t a fraud

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