ObamaCare: The Greatest Civics Lesson

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Posted: Mar 19, 2010 4:18 AM
Guest post from Robert Morrison with the Family Research Council

“War is God’s way of teaching Americans history,” goes a cynical old European taunt. I don’t agree with that, entirely. But they have a point. Who among us knew where Fallujah was before 2003? Or where Kandahar was before 2001? Who among us does not know where Gettysburg is and what it means. Or, at least, what it used to mean.

Living through history has a way of making an impact on our lives. We are living through a great moment in our history. Glenn Beck regales Americans nightly with stories and quotes from the Founding Fathers. It’s as if this eager, emotional fellow has just discovered them. He’s that enthusiastic. Legal writer Mark Levin holds forth nightly as well. His book, Liberty and Tyranny, rocketed to the top of the bestseller lists. It’s an essential primer in the theory and practice of limited government.

Liberals are, predictably, horrified by the likes of Beck and Levin. But they would have been horrified by Thomas Paine, too. Paine was a hard-drinking, failed tax collector and corset maker from England who came to America with no money and even fewer prospects. His book, Common Sense, sold hundreds of thousands of copies. It electrified the American colonists and helped mightily to move them to demand independence. His Excellency General George Washington had Common Sense distributed to his ragged soldiers.

John Adams’ powerfully reasoned arguments persuaded many in Congress. Thomas Jefferson’s immortal prose inspired all who loved liberty and language–then and now. But it was Paine who set the grassroots on fire.

The great threat of ObamaCare to American’s life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness cannot be overestimated. [# More #] It holds the menace of financial collapse for the Great Republic — with trillions in unfunded mandates. It is precisely what C.S. Lewis described when he spoke of worldly people’s reaction to obvious problems. When the ship is about to founder, they yell: Take on more water!

In a country conceived in liberty, a nation that believes all men are created equal, ObamaCare would fund the engines of death, the greatest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade. It would give the official government seal of approval to abortion facilities — these latter-day tophets — all over the country. The Obama administration has resisted the Stupak Amendment and every other effort to restrict coverage for abortion.

These heady days remind me of the last great fight we had on Capitol Hill. Back in 1994, H.R. 6, a monster federal education bill, was being debated. Congressman George Miller (D-Calif.) had had quietly slipped into its thousands of pages an innocent-looking amendment. In New Jersey, Carolee Adams, a mother and homeschooler, recognized the threat to homeschooling in the Miller Amendment. It could very likely make homeschooling illegal. Carolee, a former Fortune 500 corporate vice president, is a formidable lady. She was not to be head-patted by congressmen or patronized by liberal Hill staffers. Carolee sounded the alarm. Dr. Dobson brought the Home School Legal Defense Association’s fearless advocate, Mike Farris, onto his broadcast and, together, they ignited the grassroots.

Then, as now, phone calls poured into the Capitol Hill switchboard. In just eight days, there were three million calls registered in Congress. Many Members of Congress in those pre-cellphone days could not even reach their own offices!

“Give them whatever they want,” some of these powerful committee chairman said, “just tell them to stop calling!” The final vote against Congressman Miller’s amendment was 434-1. Give the Democrat his due, Mr. Miller voted for the Miller Amendment.

I was fielding phone calls at the FRC offices during that eight-day blitz. Many a parent would call me to clarify what their congressman’s office had told them. One young mother, homeschooling several very little children, put me through my paces. “What’s a conference committee? What’s a committee of the whole? What’s an open rule? What’s the Union calendar?

What does reconciliation mean?”

For almost an hour, as the sun sank over the capital, I answered every one of this worried Mom’s questions. She had gotten to the point where she wasn’t trusting anybody. Finally, she sighed.

“Okay, you’ve been honest with me. I’ll tell my group of mothers to keep calling our congressman.” Then, with some little embarrassment, she said: “I have to admit, I was never very good at this civics stuff when I was in high school.”

I told her I was never very good at teaching civics when I worked in a high school. What we learned then was that there’s nothing like a fight — a fight for your family, a fight for your country, a fight for your fundamental American liberties–to teach us all.

So, Mr. President, thank you. You have done a great deal to educate all Americans about their government. Anyone who thinks the American people won’t know what “deem and pass” means now, and how it violates Art. I, Sec. 7 of the Constitution is deluding himself. And if this thing passes by “schemin’” and  “deemin,’” we just might see some of those deemin’ Congressmen voted out!