Jean Cousin, The Last Judgement
”I was sick and you took care of me…”
That is the statement made by the Son of Man at the Great Judgment. You’ll find it in a story told by Jesus in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 25. Those who cared for “the least of these” would be separated as sheep belonging to the flock of God. Those who refused to feed the hungry, provide a cup of water for the thirsty, refused to welcome the stranger in their midst, visit the prisoner, clothe the naked and care for the sick were to be judged as goats and denied entrance into God’s Kingdom.
Today, Friday March 24, 2017, the President and the Republican majority in the House are prepared to deny millions of Americans healthcare. Ironically, the Ryan-Trump plan is not cruel enough for the far right Freedom Caucus and thus, it may fail. Not because it is cruel but because it is not cruel enough.
The goats are lining up. A nation is about to render a judgment but in the process, be judged. They exchange human nobility for shame and wear it like a badge. They would throw Jesus and his mother to the curb. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.
The administration and House’s attempt to replace the ACA failed but given the President’s response that he will wait for it to “explode” should concern us all for a number of reasons. First, the President and congresspersons vow to uphold the law when they are sworn into office. The ACA is, as they admit, the law of the land. To sabotage and undermine it so that it will fail is a violation of their solemn oaths. It is also a naked attempt to make something fail and then to complain that it was a failure. This is disingenuous to say the least. But above all, the effort to destroy the one plan in place to help citizens achieve medical coverage has consequences for the very lives of the citizens they represent. Mr. Ryan himself lamented that the “good becomes the victim of the perfect,” wishing others would compromise to make the plan better. Why, Sir, doesn’t this apply to the ACA? Why would you prefer the explosion of it to simply improving it? Heed your own advice and for the sake of the nation you serve, get busy improving the ACA in a bipartisan way. To quote the Roman statesman, Seneca, “I would certainly not describe as mercy what was actually the exhaustion of cruelty.” The Trump plan was manifestly cruel. Its failure is not necessarily a moment of mercy, as can be seen by the President’s tortuous logic and response. Sick Americans and their loved ones deserve better than a promise of an explosion.