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Republicans start a fight where everyone loses

Since March 23, 2010, when Obama signed his signature health care act into law, the Grand Old Party has had a grand old time grandstanding against health care reform and everything it stands for. Mandatory insurance coverage, tax credits to help pay for it, access to reproductive control, an extension of Medicare benefits, further inclusion of adult children onto family health care policies and the end of a longstanding insurance industry ability to weed out the sick by denying them coverage based on the presence of pre-existing conditions. Add to this list a requirement that companies spend 80 percent of all the money consumers pay into the system on actual health care costs, and you have what the GOP would call the end of American democracy.

An end that the GOP is willing to personally enforce by shutting the government down if they can’t have their way. Under our Constitutional system of government, there are multiple opportunities to legally and constitutionally, challenge laws passed by the majority. Unfortunately for the GOP, the Supreme Court of the United States, with John Roberts — a staunch conservative ally — at its head, declared “Obamacare” constitutionally sound. Since then the Republican majority house has symbolically voted to repeal the bill more than 45 times. Wasting time and hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars each time to do so.

Now, with every actual legal and constitutional avenue exhausted, a small faction of the GOP led by John Boehner, have decided to take the federal government hostage. Essentially saying that if they can’t have what they want. If they can’t override the will of the majority and undermine the very democratic process they claim to support, they won’t play and no one else can either.

Whether Obamacare is really good for the U.S. is no longer the question. The question has become can democracy survive this crisis? Because true democracy involves a willingness to lose. A willingness to say “the majority has spoken, and the Supreme Court has ruled.” The GOP can no longer say that — and in refusing to “lose” they are undermining the very tenet that makes our nation great. The ability to trust in democracy, even when you don’t like the decisions being made. With the ebb and flow of opinions, the pendulum will swing back, and someday, whether any of us love it or hate it, the GOP will be in power again. Do they really want to have set the precedent of minority complete non-cooperation before that day comes?

More importantly, if the GOP truly believes that it stands for what is best for the United States of America and the integrity of our constitutional process, it’s time that they honored that process — even if it means that more sick people will have access to health care.

Callie Vandewiele of Portland is a former Clackamas County resident.




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