As I begin to type this, we sit less than 60 hours away from the most monumental Supreme Court decision of my lifetime to not involve a Presidential election*.
(*: I’m only 35. Wow, “only 35”, there’s two words I never thought I’d say – “only 35”. (“the voice of reason” voice) what, you trying to out-Biden Mr. Biden there Stevo? There’s three words in “only thirty five!” Do I? Why not, I haven’t dropped a Biden gaffe link in at least a week …)
Come Thursday morning, a little after 9am CT, we will know if the Affordable Health Care Act is constitutional in full, in part, or not at all.
My bet? It’s completely tossed out by a 6-3 ruling – I honestly think this is going to be one of those 5-4 rulings that the “winners” convince one of the “losers” to change their vote on for a solid majority. It happens way more often than you’d think, actually … including today’s ruling on Arizona’s immigration law, when of all people, Chief Justice Roberts sided with the liberal opinion. (And as usual, his ruling was correct. I like Roberts, he’s way too reasonable to have been a Bush appointee.)
Which is why I think one of the liberal justices is going to side to strike the entire act down on Thursday, and my money’s on Elena Kagan being the sixth vote. Regardless your opinion on this case’s outcome, it is a disgrace and an abomination she’s even ruling on this, considering she was the President’s solicitor general when this case was making its way to the Court. Being the sixth vote can be her way of saying “see, fair and balanced! I’m fair and balanced!” like Sean Hannity or Reverend Al, when anyone with an IQ above zero knows there’s no fair or balanced with either of those two guys.
But here’s the point of today’s relatively quickie post, and it’s this. We’re barely 2 ½ days away from a decision that literally will change the way an entire political movement operates going forward, a movement basically half the country (including, for the most part, myself) supports (progressivism) … and what do you see in the streets tonight? Are there police in riot gear, National Guardmen in tanks, armed security guards attempting to quell an unchecked mob designed to storm the Supreme Court and kill the nine justices about to render their ruling?
Or put it another way – we’re barely 2 ½ days away from a decision that literally will change the way an entire political movement operates, a movement basically half the country supports (conservatism) … and are any flags being burned? Are any protestors massing, uum, en masse at the National Mall, raping women and children, assaulting reporters, and demanding “Death to the Great Satan”?
Of course they’re not. Why? Because whatever you may think of our President (I hate him with a passion, and cannot wait to vote against him come early November), whatever you may think of his challenger (he’s the lesser of two heinous evils), whatever you may think of the leaders in the Senate (Reid is clueless, McConnell is incompetent), whatever you may think of the leaders in the House (Boehner needs to stop spraying on the tan, and Pelosi just needs to go away, like, yesterday).
Whatever you may think of the process to get to this point – the process, that’s the point.
Have you been watching these horrific sights in Egypt, in Syria, throughout the Middle East? Have you seen the mass protests in Greece, in Spain, in other areas of Europe where the economic misery is most hardest felt. (Proof once again that Mrs. Thatcher was a genius – Europe has finally run out of other people’s money.)
When things didn’t go as one side wanted in the former Soviet block, did the powers that be allow dissenting commentaries, articles, blog postings, television reports, radio broadcasts, that questioned the outcome?
The process. God I hate to sound like Dayton Moore here, but stand back and look at what’s happened since the Affordable Heath Care Act was passed a little over two years ago.
Peaceful protests. Lawsuits filed. Hearings held. Rulings made. Appeals filed. And now, come Thursday morning, a final verdict from (allegedly) the nine smartest people who will ever enter a room. (At least eight of the smartest, the jury’s still out on Justice Breyer.)
And what’s going to happen when that ruling is announced? Is there going to be rioting and looting at the Smithsonian? Are angry mobs going to descend on the Capital and begin taking the HHH Memorial Sledge Hammer to the legitimate Greek columns that welcome you to the center of democracy?
Are the citizens of this country going to take to the streets, shouting “Death to the Court!”, before turning on each other in a violent civil war?
Two words: hell, and no.
Whatever you may think of this country of ours, and I happen to think it’s the greatest in the history of civilization, “the process” works. Other than a couple deranged lunatics showing their, uuh, deranged lunacy? Nobody’s going to die over this ruling. Nobody’s going to corner a pretty twenty-something year old coed and gang-rape her in an alley, like happened in Egypt. The President’s Secret Service team isn’t going to march into Bethesda and begin shooting any woman or child who refused to have sex with them, like is happening in Syria … and then after raping them, shooting them anyways, just because they can.
I’m honestly still torn how I want the Court to rule. I know what I expect them to do, but I’m torn how I feel about it. On the one hand, without some requirement to purchase insurance (or better yet, a law to allow people to refuse services rendered unless you can pay on site or have insurance), we'll be bankrupt within five years as a nation (if we aren't already there now). On the other hand, the mandate is clearly unconstitutional -- Congress can't make you buy something you don't want to have.
What I’m not torn about, is how awesome this country is.
How barely a year after we caught and killed a man who sought to destroy us by tearing us apart with acts of terrorism … Thursday is going to show this nation at it’s finest.
We can agree to disagree, no matter the outcome. And come November, we’ll quietly enter a church or a school or a community center, and vote to either affirm or deny the outcome on Thursday, peaceably. (Well, unless you’re in South Philly and the Black Panthers are at your polling station, then sorry pal, you’re on your own.)
The great experiment that emerged from the Enlightenment 225 years ago, is still mankind’s finest hour. And yes, it came about because of the Enlightenment, along with our brave forefathers who risked their lives to fight for freedom. I swear, if I hear one more evangelical claim this was founded as a “Christian nation”, I am literally going to have a coronary. It was NOT founded as a “Christian nation”, at least not as most evangelicals revision our past to be. It was founded based on the idea that mankind didn’t need God to rule himself – we can do that just fine on our own. It was the core idea of the Enlightenment. Yes, it took the best of Christian ideas (along with other faiths) and incorporated them into its rule of law, but this nation was founded as mankind’s greatest experiment.
And the success of that experiment will be reconfirmed over and over and over again a couple days from now, for the entire world – including those fighting for freedom in places like Egypt and Syria – to see. Democracy does work. Never more so than in our great nation.
Which is pretty damned cool in my book …