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The Gantseh Megillah

The Outspeaker

Joel Wayne

The debate goes on and on. All the points have been made; the sole reason for argument is now theatre. It has become apparent, that the opposition to reasoned reform of our health care system are interested solely in preserving their power through their fawning support of the insurance industry. The arrogance of both participants in this collusion of immorality is almost beyond belief. I say "almost" because to some of us this behavior is not at all surprising. In fact, looking back at history, it is the logical outcome of a system designed from the very beginning to place power in the hands of the wealthy and influential, and to minimize the influence of the masses. This is evident if one reads the minutes of the Constitutional Convention. This event, held in Philadelphia, was attended by delegates from the several states, (except Rhode Island, a tiny state referred to by some as “Rogue” Island). Some of the measures seriously considered by this body were: a means test for the offices of President, Senator, and Representative (I think the president would have to show $150,000 in cash or kind, senators $10,000, and representatives $50,000). So much for Government by the people. This model was based on democracy practiced in ancient Greece, wherein only “citizens” got to vote in the Senate. Then there was the whole “a slave equals three-fifths of a vote,” put forth by (who else) the Southern contingent, an attempt to bolster their numbers in the House. Oh, yeah, the slaves wouldn’t get a vote. Not even three-fifths of one.

The “Founding Fathers,” whoever they were, were not of one mind as far as the basic structure of this new form of government. One proposal was to eliminate all state borders, and set up one powerful central government. Another was to have three presidents to run the executive branch. There were other strange and paranoid measures introduced.

What finally emerged was a basic framework for the functional aspects of the government. Nobody was entirely satisfied, but they had to craft SOMETHING. There was no bill of rights. Congress added the first ten amendments later.

The new document was a source of unease to most of the delegates. Franklin, in a letter to a friend, opined that he “hated” it. He went on to justify his endorsement of it in a strange way. He said that although he thought it a bad solution, he didn’t know that in ten years he WOULDN’T like it. Hardly a ringing endorsement. Others were more tactful in their final analyses. Washington, chairman of the convention, said, “the event (the success or failure of the new system) was in the hands of God.

In any case, the constitution was intended only as a starting point. Some of the language is vague, and open to as much interpretation as the Talmud. For instance, the second amendment guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It also contains the strange qualifier about a “well regulated militia.” Why put that qualifier in? There must have been some compromise on the issue.

I believe, and it’s only my opinion, that the main purpose of the Constitution as originally drafted, was to preserve property rights, and the wealth of the drafters. I further believe that, in addition to protecting the new nation from a tyrant, it was intended to protect “us” from the bad decisions of a basically uneducated and unpredictable populace. Hence, the Electoral College system, and the provisions for letting each house of Congress make it’s own rules. Why not set the rules from the get-go in the Constitution? The Filibuster, once a rare occurrence, has now become a common ploy, in effect requiring 60 votes instead of a simple majority to pass anything. What’s up with THAT?

This started off with the health care issue, and turned into a ramble centered on our system of government. There is something basically wrong. My feeling is that some Senators (the House seems to know exactly what to do with a landslide victory) never got the news that we voted for change. They seem not to notice or care that close to two in three Americans want guaranteed healthcare for all. That such ex-opponents as the AMA, big business, and over half the doctors, nurses, and hospitals in the country want not only a public option, but favor a SINGLE PAYER system.

To put it simply, they seem not to fear us. Senators like Baucus, Lincoln, Collins, and Conrad seem to hold their narrow interests higher than the will of their constituents. Do they actually believe that our electorate is so ill informed and passive that the dollars pouring into their campaign funds will enable them to convince people that black is white and up is down?

Perhaps they’re right.

Especially when the President who campaigned so vociferously on the issue seems so passive himself.

I guess the bottom line goes something like this: If you hold the power to save people from worry, pain, and death, and choose not to exercise that power, there is a special place in Hell reserved for you. And how much money you have or how many dupes you can convince to vote for you won’t mean anything.

Once again, I thank you for your indulgence, and invite your response.

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