“The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those who are in the shadows of life—the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
–Hubert Humphrey’s last speech, November 1, 1977
President George W. Bush’s veto of the SCHIP bill underscores the importance of the 2007 Oregon Legislature’s move to put Measure 50 on the November 6 ballot as a constitutional amendment.
Few legislators wanted to amend the Oregon Constitution to get to health insurance, but—faced with a moral choice—both chambers acted correctly in resolving to put the needs of Oregon’s citizens ahead of partisanship, ideology and plain mean-spiritedness.
Without Measure 50 on the near horizon, many thousands of uninsured and underinsured Oregonians with much to hope for but little to expect would face continued involuntary enrollment in President Bush’s Emergency-Room Late-Stage National Health Plan.
Meanwhile, President Bush’s monument for posterity, emblem of his failed presidency, the new United States Embassy in Iraq, largest and most expensive embassy in the world, is well behind schedule and over budget.
News broke today that the complex, originally budgeted for $ 592 million, will cost US taxpayers another $144 million to complete.
Those figures do not include the missile defense system it’s going to need, and it is important to keep in mind that no one is even guessing at what the embassy’s ongoing operating costs are going to be.
Think of the Wapato Jail, super-sized, visible from space, where everyone sprints when on foot, zigging and zagging, trying not to spill the coffee, and you have an image of what this project really is…an artifact already, a blueprint drawn up in those heady days after Shock and Awe, when Coalition troops entered the flower-strewn streets of Baghdad, and the Bush Administration and its neo-con hardliners fantasized a thousand-year legacy.
Oregon lawmakers and Oregon’s voters could never hope to cut a budget fine enough to put a dent in the massive outflow of national resources that President Bush pours down the toilet every minute of the day.
The silver-spoon President stated that he vetoed the SCHIP bill because he opposes “government-run health care.”
Uninsured Oregonians don’t care what it is called or who runs it as much as they care that they have access to it.
According to President Abraham Lincoln, the government Bush is referring to is “of the People, by the People, and for the People….”
Since he serves in the Party of Lincoln, that phrase ought to have some significance in the discussion.
If the government is “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” then government-run health care is actually run by the People.
Having never known a moment in life when his health insurance was not provided by either the oil industry, the State of Texas, the federal government or by his government-run Secret Service detail, President Bush is faced with a moral dilemma: To SCHIP or not.
He fails the moral test…but we already knew that was coming.
And the People of Oregon will make their moral choice known on November 6.