December 24 2013
Christmas is a season of celebration—and, no matter what hard knocks the year might have brought, a time that speaks of joy present and hope for the future.
“Enjoy being with your families...do NOT talk about politics...and have some fun!” my boss urged the IWF staff. Sage advice, Sabrina—but it’s still a few hours before Christmas officially begins, and thus I feel that I still have a few hours to talk about the millions of Americans who are suffering this year because of politics.
When we wish each other good health for 2014, some Americans may feel a sense of foreboding. Countless Americans (literally countless, as the administration either isn’t keeping records or is withholding the statistics from the public) have lost their health insurance. Some are facing serious health problems. Others find that their health insurance is now so expensive as to bust the budget for many families.
The White House persists in treating all these very real problems as mere PR issues, refusing to address the very real pain that has been inflicted on people with a piece of legislation that was passed largely unread and over objections of people expressing themselves in town halls and polls. The “fixes” are in many respects purely cosmetic and may be ruinous to the insurance companies. The insurance companies, which, smelling lucrative deals, got in bed with the administration, may deserve ashes and coals. Innocent people, on the other hand, will be harmed if the insurance industry tanks—now a distinct possibility. They didn’t deserve this.
The good news is that the country will very likely have a chance to fix this. The White House already is being asked if it has a Plan B in case ObamaCare crumbles. It doesn’t. But that doesn't mean it doesn't need one. This, after all, is the administration that couldn’t produce a workable website in three years.
If we get another chance, we need leaders with courage, intelligence, and humility. Yes, humility. Ramming through Congress a bill that sought to radically change the American economy, not just health care, over public outcry and without a single vote from the other party is the height of hubris.
I don’t want to politicize Good King Wenceslas, but I just read Rod Dreher’s lovely blog on his favorite Christmas carols. One of his is "Good King Wenceslas" (one of mine, too—and Rod includes the lyrics, along with a link to the York Minster choir’s 1995 Christmas service that features this carol). The carol is about a “righteous monarch who humbled himself, and served a poor man on a cold winter’s night.”
I can’t help thinking that, in the coming year, or maybe the one after that, when we are struggling with the inevitable disaster that results from piece of legislation born of hubris, we will need leaders with humility and a righteous desire to do the right thing for all of us, most especially the poor, the ones who need jobs the most and have the much to gain from a strong economy. But on this day of the year, I'd particularly like to emphasize humility--on a bipartisan basis.
By the way, I do want to recommend a nice Christmas piece up this morning by Dennis Prager, who is Jewish, and who notes that this wonderful holiday is “as American as the proverbial apple pie.” And speaking of the songs we sing this time of year, Prager has an amusing list of popular Christmas songs and their authors—don’t miss it.
We’ll have light blogging during the holiday season. Check in but at least for tomorrow follow Sabrina’s advice. Raise a glass of cheer.