It had all the ingredients of a Southern lynching. There was Obama surrounded by the white, mostly male employees of the peach-haired plantation owner. Their taunts and jeers, thick with cynicism and mischief made the event even darker. They cast their votes and held their breath until the 217 to 213 tallies were announced in favor of repealing and replacing large parts of the Affordable Care Act. Democrats cried as Republicans sang and strutted.
It was as if David had felled Goliath. After more that 50 attempts to thwart President Obama’s signature legislation, they became giddy children finally getting their reward. This “job well done” celebrated the undoing of the law that secured healthcare, and therefore financial stability, to more than 20 million Americans. The perversity of their beaming pride and sheer glee while millions in the shadows contemplated their fate is the photo op I hope people remember in the voting booth next year.
Executioner Trump, whose billions insulate him from understanding the impossible choices of whether to buy food or medicine, was his usual disparaging, self-congratulating blob, snickering, as he too couldn’t resist kicking the dead body. The symbolism was inescapable. The most important law that amazingly was passed within the first African-American President’s first 14 months in office had become the very iteration of Obama himself. Defeat it and you smite him—or so the Republicans came to believe. Obsessiveness tends to distort judgment and so the benefits, compassion, altruism and practical humane good of giving millions access to better health, surrendered to the angry crowd.
One of Trump’s favorite three-letter words is “sad”. But this vote is beyond that. It is tragic. It is a national, even international embarrassment that the party of Lincoln is now partying on the misfortune they have just wrought for the most economically challenged citizens. This was not just killing a law—it was an act that will kill people. It has been so long that these gloating, self-serving, self-centered, high-flying sadists finally got a piece of legislation passed that they haven’t realized the damage they’ve inflicted. They have produced nothing positive, nothing new or helpful, nothing to make the citizens’ lives better. Their first big “success” is taking away healthcare from millions and bringing thousands nearer to death.
When elected officials, American flag lapel pins in place, patriotism overflowing, dance on the graves of citizens, it is not sad. It is sick.