Theft and murder through a vote has the same impact on the innocent as theft and murder from a gun. Only, the perpetrator with the gun is honest about his intent.
The Republican health care proposal reminds me of one of those 1950s westerns like Shane, where the greedy cattle baron hires a gang of thugs to harass and even murder the struggling homesteaders so that the baron can steal their land and expand his empire.
What the Republicans are planning to do is the same as the cattle barons and it needs to be called out for what it is: theft and murder. Because it is done with a piece of legislation doesn’t make it any more right or any less lethal than if it was carried out with thugs carrying guns.
I cannot fathom how anyone with a heart or a conscience can possibly vote for either version of the Republican plan that throws up to 24 million people out of health care coverage and decreases Medicaid by $800 Billion to fund tax cuts for the wealthy.
Reputable studies predict that tens of thousands of people will needlessly die each year as a result of the Republican health care changes. Please tell me how anyone can vote for this bill knowing that so many will suffer and die as a result. Supporters of plan like to pretend that this won’t happen, but the evidence is abundantly clear to the contrary.
In defense of their plan, Republicans like to say that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is failing and something needs to be done. Obamacare is not failing, but it does need to be enhanced. Unfortunately, the Republican approach to this problem is akin to taking your car to the auto shop to fix a flat tire, only to have your mechanic come out and tell you that they repaired the tire, but they had to remove the motor, figuring you can get along just fine without it if you find someone to push your car to wherever you want to go.
It is clear that the Republican health care plan isn’t at all about health care. It is about stealing Medicaid benefits away from the poor in order to provide unneeded dollars to the wealthy. It is about taking health care away from millions of people without acknowledging or perhaps without even caring that tens of thousands will die each year as a result.
This is a social sin of the highest magnitude. I don’t say this with hyperbole. I say it because tens of thousands of people will die EACH YEAR as a result of this pending decision. I know I’m repeating myself, but this is a big deal. To put this in perspective, the Bradley Center in the city of Milwaukee holds just over 19,000 people. I think there would be a significant outrage if 19,000 people were marched into the Bradley Center each year and then killed. Year after year. So why not the same outrage over the Republican proposal that will produce the same result?
Writers of the letter of Romans in the New Testament tell us that where there is great sin, there is also abundant grace. I am trying to see the abundant grace in this situation. Perhaps it is found in the care and camaraderie shown for those whose lives will be threatened when they lose their health care. Perhaps it is in the vast numbers of people who are standing up to these legislators and demanding that they walk away from this atrocity of a health care plan.
As I have written previously, the kingdom of God will only manifest itself through our actions. We can’t pray and wait for divine intervention on this. We can’t sit around waiting for someone like Shane to show up and save us. Our future is in our own hands.
Call your legislators and tell them that they will be held accountable for the theft of Medicaid from the poor and the murder of tens of thousands who will die each year from their actions. Theft and murder through a vote has the same impact on the innocent as theft and murder from a gun. Only, the perpetrator with the gun is honest about his intent.
Michael Soika has been a community activist for more than 30 years working on issues of social and economic justice. His work for justice is anchored by his spiritual formation first as a Catholic and now as a Quaker.