So Obama signed the health care reform bill into law today. Republicans have been gnashing their teeth and pulling their hair out over this. Senator McCain has even announced that the Republicans aren't going to cooperate on passing anything else through the end of the year (uh... are the Democrats really going to notice any difference? And trust us- we know what it feels like to be ignored. We were made to feel a whole lot more invisible during the Bush years than the Republicans did during the 9 month period in which Democrats struggled to get a little bit of bipartisan cooperation on health care reform from a completely obstinate Republican Party).
And now we've been told that America as we know it is now coming to an end- that a new era of socialist, communist, Nazi/fascist rule is upon us. We've been told by Republicans that the American economy has been completely destroyed with this legislation, that people won't be able to choose their own doctors, and that death panels are going to start killing off our elderly people.
So now I'm wondering what's going to happen when all of this gloom and doom fails to materialize. Given the warnings and predictions of the Republicans, anything less than an complete, unmitigated disaster should leave the Democrats looking fairly good once this bill starts to become implemented. And I really, truly don't think it's going to be anything close to a disaster. I really think this bill is going to end up helping people.
And I'm happy that the Democrats finally got something passed. I'm not going to go into a bunch of specific policy details (about things like how the health care bill should actually save money in the long run).
Instead, I just want to be happy for a little while about the fact that there are still some people in this country who care about the well being of their neighbors and who are willing to fight for the existence of a society that provides for all of its members- especially on something as basic and fundamental as health care (I mean, I'm not willing to start buying jet skis and widescreen TVs for the poor, but we're talking about health care for heaven's sake!). Health care reform is just one of those things that reminds us that living in America is about more than just having the power to triumph over other people through an unmitigated right to amass material possessions.
Anyway, it was also good to see some Democrats standing up and doing the right thing, even though there's a very real risk of some political fallout from this thing (there's a significant chance that some of these people might not be reelected because of support for this bill- the ubiquitous campaign of misinformation and anti reform propaganda put out by conservatives and special interests during this long health care debate has genuinely, needlessly scared a whole lot of people), but eventually our Democratic leadership went ahead and did the right thing, regardless of the political fallout.
Anyway, Republican lawsuits were launched within minutes after President Obama signed the bill into law, and GOP Senators have already vowed to obstruct a bill that includes changes that need to be made to the original bill. The shenanigans are definitely not over.
But for the moment it's nice to ignore the roars of outrage and just enjoy an occasion when progressives took yet another big step forward toward trying to make this a more civil society.
We can fight again tomorrow, but today I'm all smiles.