It was the close of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in September, 1787, and expectations were running high. Having worked long and hard at crafting the document, and emerging from the room, Benjamin Franklin was asked by an anxious citizen, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?”
Came the response from the wise old legislator, “A republic…if you can keep it.”
Implicit in the words of this esteemed Founding Father was this truth: freedom must be cherished, nurtured, and defended, sometimes even to the death. America took a big step toward losing freedom today with the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling that Obamacare passes constitutional muster. Never before has our government been allowed to mandate that Americans spend their money on penalty of taxation, and it doesn’t take any imagination to envision our arrogant powers-that-be determining many other things that we must be forced to do–or else! (By the way, don’t buy into the idea that purchasing car insurance or getting a driver’s license is a parallel; these each are examples of paying reasonable fees for the privilege of driving, not merely for being a breathing American human.) The buffoon who runs New York City, for instance, has proposed that fast food restaurants be limited with regard to the serving sizes of their drinks, on the basis that New Yorkers are more obese than he thinks they should be. Government, in his mind, is the all-knowing nanny, who knows better than you what’s good for you. What happens when this patrician thinking begins to carry the day in Washington? What can government mandate then? What can’t government mandate?
Who is to blame? It’s hard to know where to start. Let’s start with the Republicans. This health care problem didn’t begin with the Obama administration; it’s been building for a long time now. Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, along with his do-nothing Republican cohorts on the Hill, did exactly nothing in eight years to address this issue. Nothing. If we think we should lay all of this on the shoulders of Democrats, or if we think we can now trust Republicans to fix the health care crisis when they did zilch for years upon years, we’re massively foolish.
We can certainly lay a lot of blame on Chief Justice Roberts, a Bush appointee, of course. What a convoluted line of reasoning; what an inexplicable thing that he would invent this nonsensical basis for upholding Obamacare. We knew the four liberal members would vote as they did, but we thought that a man professing to be an upholder of the Constitution would vote otherwise. Even the perenially wishy-washy Anthony Kennedy got it right. How and why the Chief Justice voted as he did is truly troubling, and bodes poorly not only for his legacy, of course, but for the future of freedom in our country (or what’s left of it).
Then of course there is Barack Obama himself. Give the man credit: he promised to fundamentally remake America when he was running for President, and doggone if he hasn’t! From his utter disregard for the rule of law, to his animus toward the First Amendment, to his determination to shove massive government down our throats, to Obamacare’s detrimental affect on our freedom as Americans, he can certainly claim credit for remaking our country. He promised hope and change; he sure got the last half right. Of course, if Barack Obama had a shred of integrity, he’d stand by his word–but then, why break new ground? He’s been lying pretty much from Day One, so why change? But if he were a man of his word, who promised us that his healthcare law, its mandate, did not entail a new tax, upon hearing that Chief Justice Roberts had based his ruling, not on the Commerce Clause but on Congress’ ability to tax (thus declaring this to be a new tax), he would reject the finding, and demand that this not be seen as a new tax. But why be consistent? Ah, to be a liberal and never be bothered by having to be consistent…
Now, we are supposed to do all that we can to elect Mitt Romney. Great. Here’s a mediocrity if ever there was one, a thoroughly uninspiring candidate whose chief virtue lies in the fact that mediocrity is preferable to disaster. Romney’s credibility isn’t exactly high on this healthcare point, given his Massachusetts misadventures. In that respect, it’s hard not to put at least a little of the blame for this monstrosity on Mr. Romney himself. Sure, I’ll vote for him; the Libertarian choice is Gary Johnson, who is unacceptable, and there’s at least a chance that Romney can win, and that if he wins, he’ll govern at least better than Obama (how could he govern worse?). It’s hard to imagine the damage that Obama could do if unfettered by thoughts of running for re-election, and for that reason, and for what must be admitted now to be a long shot, the overturning of Obamacare, we have to work for Romney’s election–and then work at least as hard, if not harder, to hold him accountable to some semblance of small government conservatism.
After today’s ruling, let’s be honest enough to admit that it’s a fair question to ask, “how much longer can we keep this republic?”