I have always believed life experiences make us wiser. In my own case, growing up in the segregated South shaped my views about and support of civil rights. As a young boy, observing African-Americans being required to watch AAA baseball games from the “colored” section in right field left an indelible impression on my psyche.
We sometimes see the impact of personal experience on our national leaders. Anti-gay politicians change their position when a son or daughter dares to come out of the closet. And I always think of how Ronald Reagan, a life-long NRA member, defied the gun lobby and supported both the Brady Bill and a ban on assault weapons after surviving an assassin’s bullet.
Today should have been one more of those occasions. Before a Senate vote on whether to take up the Republican proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, John McCain took to the well in the Senate chamber to lecture his colleagues on how the closed-door process by which the proposal was drafted violated this austere body’s regular order.
We’ve tried to do this by coming up with a proposal behind closed doors in consultation with the administration, then springing it on skeptical members, trying to convince them it’s better than nothing, asking us to swallow our doubts and force it past a unified opposition. I don’t think that is going to work in the end. And it probably shouldn’t.
Well said, but these were only words. Now, I would not wish the medical situation McCain faces on anyone. And I hope he beats the odds and survives this cruel hand he and many other Americans have been dealt. But today, by voting with the Republican leadership for a bill which would deprive 22 million Americans of their health insurance and eliminate patient protections against the vagaries of profit hungry insurance companies, McCain proved to be as hypocritical, mean spirited and as much of a political hack as his peers in the GOP.
But worst of all, maybe for the first time in his life, John McCain became the “cowardly lion” of the United States Senate. To say that the American people deserved better in terms of open debate and transparency and then to reward the perpetrators who engineered this fiasco with your vote is unconscionable. To turn your back on millions of Americans who only dream of being able to afford the medical care you have received since your diagnosis is cruel, especially when you know your single vote could put a stop to this policy-making debacle.
Senator, have you no decency?
For what it’s worth.