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MEMBER DIARY

The Face of Jesus Christ and “the Human Element” (or, Desperately Seeking Morality in Obamacare)

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES,

Article 1, Section 7:

Clause 1: All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

In all of President Obama’s recent gaseous oration, as he tries to bewitch both the Supreme Court and his slumping supporters, he’s often made greasy, unctuous allusion to the “Human Element” alleged to be involved in striking down the (oximoronically named) Affordable Care Act. For a man so aggressively retailed to the voters as a thoughtful, peace-inducing yogi, he sure is a petulant scold: “What I did emphasize yesterday is there is a human element to this that everybody has to remember” said President Obama.

Everybody. He then went on to wax rhapsodic about all the teeming masses with heretofore untreated tumors and dread diseases that have nonetheless had time to drop him a note thanking him for his heroic efforts on their behalf.

The subtext, of course, is that if the Supreme Court deigns to rule that his “signature legislation” is a bunch of undiluted, tyrannical hooey, all of these people –who once were healthy enough to send soaring paeans to the Great Obama– will be left to rot in the gutters of suburban Virginia; preferably right outside Justice Kennedy’s house, where they will writhe in pain during their final death-rattle.

Ah, yes; the great Humanitarian Obama, always looking out for the “human element”, the “empathy”, the “compassion”.

I opened this Diary Entry with one of the most profound passages of the United States Constitution. Indeed, a profound passage in a profound document. Profound because the people who fought for, conceived and instituted our government (-who, by the way, could have enshrined any form of government, from anarchy to tyranny, but who instead formed a representative republic) put the most odious activity of that government –the power to tax– as close to The People as they could.

All the money which the government ever was going to need, from it’s inception until today, was going to be proposed and raised by The People’s House. Not the Executive, not the Judiciary, not the House of Lords (that is, the Senate). No, if the Central Government was going to compel the people to give up the fruits of their labor in the form of Taxes, then, by God, the folks most answerable to The People would have to have the cajones to ask them for it. And they resided in the House of Representatives..

The founders placed the power to tax in the People’s House precisely because they understood the “Human Element” of how disruptive taxation is, what a burden it is on the average working stiff. They knew the hardships it can cause, the dislocation. The mere fact that every penny the government has must be extracted, squeezed and confiscated from a citizen was well understood by the Founders. In fact, they’d just fought a war against a brutal power that taxed them without representation. And they wanted the taxing authority of the New Central Government answerable on a very human level.

For all of the legal posturing this past week before the Supreme Court no one seemed to note the biggest violation of the law that Obamacare represents (..and there are myriad violations).

The Bill originated in the Senate.

By this fact alone, there IS no “human element” in Obamacare. It is not humane, it is not even particularly democratic. Every partisan parliamentary trick in the book was thrown at the law to shove it over the finish line. As Nancy Pelosi herself said (with her flare for the weirdly dramatic): “We’ll go through the gate, if the gate is closed we’ll go over the fence, if the fence is too high we’ll pole vault in, if that doesn’t work we’ll parachute in, but we’re going to get health care reform passed for the American people.”

And pass it they did. Illegally, but they passed it.

There are some 30 different “revenue streams” in the Affordable Care Act, along with the individual insurance-purchase decree. And, has been noted elsewhere recently in RedState, the two original House bills that Pelosi sent over to Harry Reid were voted down in the Senate, where they were unable to achieve cloture because of objections raised mainly by Joe Lieberman over the “Government Option”. So, the Senate sent a new bill back to the House, where the thought was they would amend it, and send it back to the senate for approval.

Sadly for the statists, Scott Brown rode into town promising to be the 40th vote against Obamacare, and he was as good as his word. So, there would never be a conference committee on a compromise House/Senate healthcare bill. Thus, Nancy Pelosi simply said, effectively: Okay, the Senate version is fine. In fact, it’s so good, we might just change a word here or there, and allow the members to simply agree to the changes, and “deem” the rest of the underlying bill to have passed.

The “Slaughter Rule” –deeming a bill “passed” that never was because a few semi-colons and typos were fixed– was a bridge too far, in the end. So, on a bright, early spring day two years ago, Bart Stupak announced on national television that he really enjoyed the taste of the bottom of Barack Obama’s boots, after all, and that he would vote for the whole Senate Enchilada, including the punctuation changes.

But, make no mistake: It was the senate’s bill. It originated there. And thus, because it raises taxes and revenues, it is unconstitutional on that basis alone. Unconstitutional, and lacking entirely of a “human element” because of it.

The Senate wrote the bill. But, contrary to the wishes of the founders, the voting public couldn’t reach into THAT body and throw them the heck out, like we did with the House, a year and a half later. In effect, the House paid the price for the sins of the Senate.

No “human element” there, whatsoever.

“Human Element,” says Obama. “For the Good of the People,” said Mao. “Enemies of the People,” Said Stalin.

Po-tA-toe, Po-TAH-toe.

I recently took a long-saved-for family vacation to Jamaica. We decided to pass on the all-inclusive resorts, and chose instead to spend our week at a mom-n-pop place along Negril’s famous “Seven Mile Beach”. Those who have visited such places beyond the gated resorts are well-acquainted with the rather aggressive peddlers, who stroll with great purpose up and down the sands, hawking everything from energy bars to hats to parasail rides to ganja. At first, these seaside third-world Ron Popeils  are intimidating. Then, after a nonce, they become annoying. Then, over time, they become very human.

VERY human. And very capitalistic, in a very traditional old-fashioned American sense.

Jamaica has no “safety net”, at least as it is understood in the United States. If you venture out into the parishes beyond the teeming streets of Kingston, social welfare is practically non-existent. Paved roads are poorly maintained, and are buzzing with 15-year-old Toyota minivans, that bus the tourists around. But, the drivers are polite and kind and helpful. One very nice man who drove us put it plainly: “If you have no money, you find work as best you can, for a day or two. Then you can eat, you know?” But, he also said people share, and there is always food to be had in a pinch. Schooling, while nominally free in most cases, the transportation to and from is not, and the schools are widely scattered. Medical attention is, of course, readily available, but –like getting to school– hardly free.

Along the beaches, in addition to the peddlers, are assorted struggling souls: Amputees, blind folks, the sick. These folks try also, in their way, to elicit contributions from the tourists. As with the salesmen, they at first appear pathetic, and annoying. Our western values are rather affronted when they interrupt your stroll along the warm Caribbean waters: Why aren’t these folks taken care of?

On the last day of my visit, I took a last walk on the beach with my son before it was time to head back to the Airport, and home.

All week long, I’d been wearing primarily my swim trunks, which feature netting-type pockets that hold practically nothing in a manner that is most frustrating. When you swim, and the netting gets wet, anything in those pockets practically requires the Jaws Of Life to extricate, so you put very little in them. Including money. When the peddlers advanced on me, I could say, truthfully, “I’m fine; I don’t have any money anyway”.

But, on that last stroll, a Jamaican man approached, heavily leaning on a large cane. It must have been very difficult for him to walk. When he asked for money, I said, no, I have no money.

“But, you can go up to your hotel, and please get some,” he said. “Please, sir, look at me,” he said, and I did. He was wearing long canvass-type pants, cuffed at the bottom, and ragged. He wore over-large Adidas flip-flops with a velcro-style top-flap. His feet were, I then noticed, huge and swolen. He lifted the cuffs of his pants, and there were several ulcerated abscesses. “Elephantiasis,” he said. “Please sir…”  But, I kept walking. I had no money because of my bathing suit.

I walked away down the beach with my son.

And I heard Jesus say, “What did you do for me?”

I had done nothing. And I thought of the woman entering the temple, giving her single copper penny to the offering. Christ was there, and celebrated this simple woman, because she gave so willingly out of her poverty. And I couldn’t give out of my wealth.

And I had walked away. Truly. And, I continued walking. I was with my son, enjoying our last moments on the beach.

It was a fleeting moment, really. I put my hands in my pockets as I walked, and noticed I was wearing a regular pair of shorts, for the days journey Home. Indeed, I had my wallet! And my wallet had money, the stipend my wife had given me for travel incidentals on the way home.

We turned and headed back, and, thank God, the man was sitting now, tired and alone, along the break-wall in front our hotel. I advanced right up to him, and said, “I have money after all!” I handed him the stipend my wife had given me for the road home. I could explain to her later…

The man, whose skin was so dark that his features were hard to define in the shadows of the early morning, had very discolored eyes as I looked into them. But, as I did –and I am not saying this for effect, or for applause– I glimpsed the face of Jesus. “Oh, God Bless you. God Bless you sir”, he said.

And indeed he did. I may have given away a tiny, miniscule amount of my money– but, I’d received an enormous gift. I will never, ever, forget the face of that man on the Negril beach; for in it, I saw Christ. Truly.

The moment was gone.

The government of Barack Obama will confiscate wealth from me far and above the spare dollars I gave away that day for “healthcare”, and they will do it in the name of the “Human Element”. They will dress it up as somehow a moral cause to do this, even though I would likely never see the person that might receive this ill-gotten booty, and they will never see me. We will never look each other in the eye. There will never be contact, as there was on the Jamaican Beach. There is, then, nothing “human” about this. It is decidedly “inhuman”, in fact.

Also, there is nothing “giving” in these statist realms. There is no free-will charity, or giving spiritedness. It is confiscation, coercion, and force. This is the opposite of compassion, or morality.

Authoritarians grudge-mongers like Obama aren’t really interested in the plight of the poor and sick, any more than Stalin was interested in the working-man heroes. When Obama looks at the teeming masses of the poor, or the uninsured, he sees…. masses. There are no individuals. And when there are no individuals, there is no “human element”. Period. There is only construct, abstraction and theory. Obama sees Action Agencies, and Community Centers, and Health Clinics and infinite bureaucrats; he manifestly does not see the God-scented individual whom he depersonalizes.

Because, if President Obama saw individuals, with individual passions, and wants, and loves, and cares, and faults, he would necessarily jetison his world-view in favor of liberty. Individual liberty. But, individual liberty comes at the expense of central authority, and that he and his ilk cannot abide.

In the rarefied air of the White House, occupants therein very quickly become accustomed to not being told “no”. They mostly just hear, “Yes, Mr. President”.  Soon, they become habituated to having their every whim and desire, and those of their family and friends, immediately slaked. The shower, for example, which Lydon Johnson used in his second-floor suite was rebuilt eight times in the five years he was in residence; he never felt there was enough power behind the water pressure to properly wash. So, the White House maintenance folks were forever installing new and larger pipes, and shower-heads, and mixers. They even installed an auxiliary pump, just for his shower.

Anachronistically, though, he would prowl the White House at night, turning off lamps and lights and chandeliers, until the place was mostly pitch-black at night. President Johnson was concerned, you see, about the power bill, and how it would look to the taxpayer.

This president, though, is not constrained by such picayune concerns. He jets around, playing more golf than Arnold Palmer. He putt-putts about in three luxury motorcoaches at $30 million a copy. He has pizza flown in from Chicago– evidently, there are no pizza parlors in Washington. While Lady Bird Johnson flew coach with her aide, Michelle Obama flies a separate jet on a separate vacation with her separate 40-person staff. The Obama’s, you see, get what they want. They are told “yes”.

So, the Supreme Court is about to tell them “no”. And you don’t say that to this President.

After all, he is only concerned with the “Human Element”.

His.

 

 

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