And the most glorious exploits do not always furnish us with the clearest discoveries of virtue or vice in men; sometimes a matter of less moment, an expression or a jest, informs us better of their characters and inclinations, than the most famous sieges, the greatest armaments, or the bloodiest battles whatsoever.
–Plutarch, The Life of Alexander the Great
On June 25, for the second time in three years, the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), widely known as Obamacare.
Thirty-four Republican-led states have refused to set up state health insurance exchanges so their poor and medium-income residents can obtain affordable medical care.
In those Republican-governed states, citizens can obtain their health coverage only through subsidies given by the federal government.
A handful of words in the ACA suggested the subsidies were to go only to consumers using exchanges operated by the states. In its 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court said those subsidies did not depend on where people live.
But three years earlier, Republican suffered another setback in their efforts to deprive their fellow Americans of access to healthcare.
Republicans expected June 28, 2012 to be their day. The day when the United States Supreme Court struck down the ACA.
It would be a day to celebrate–and to revel in the sheer ecstasy of their hatred for the country’s first black President.
The United States Supreme Court
The previous President, George W. Bush, had lied the nation into a needless and destructive war with Iraq by repeatedly claiming that:
Saddam Hussein and Osama bin laden had teamed up to bring on 9/11;
Saddam was trying to get a nuclear weapon; or
Saddam already had a nuclear weapon and intended to use it against the United States.
That war cost the lives of 4,486 Americans and well over $1 trillion.
And Bush–taking a “hands-off-business” attitude–had presided over the 2008 Wall Street “meltdown.” By the time Obama took office in 2009, the unchecked greed and stupidity of wealthy businessmen threatened to bankrupt the country.
But for the American Right, these weren’t crimes. They were simply incidents to be ignored or arrogantly explained away.
Yet when President Obama sought to provide full medical coverage for all Americans, regardless of wealth, that–-for the American Right–-was a crime beyond forgiveness.
“Obamacare,” at all costs, must be discredited and destroyed.
As President Obama’s best-known achievement, its destruction by the Supreme Court would discredit the reputation of its creator. And this would arm Republicans with a potent election-time weapon for making Obama a one-term President.
Mitt Romney, the party’s presumptive nominee for President, openly boasted that the Court would overturn the Act.
Among those Right-wingers poised to celebrate on the morning of June 28 was Ohio Congresswoman Jean Schmidt.
Wearing a white dress, she stood in front of the Supreme Court waiting to hear about the healthcare ruling–-when the joyful news came:
The Court had ruled the Act was not enforceable under the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution!
Although this was in fact true–-and reported on CNN and Fox News–-it was far from the whole story.
A cell phone camera-wielding onlooker spotted Schmidt on her own cell phone.
“Yes! Yes!” Schmidt screamed. “Oh, what else? Thank God! No, they struck down the individual mandate! They took it away! Yes!”
Her fascistic joy manifested itself in ear-splitting screeches and air punches. Her entire body rocked up and down, shuddering with the ecstasy of passion. She resembled, more than anything else, a woman caught up in the frenzy of an orgasm.
In this case, an orgasm of pure, undisguised hatred–-
for the Affordable Healthcare Act;
- for those millions of uninsured Americans needing healthcare coverage; and
above all, for the President himself.
It is a lust so demonic, so characteristic of the all-out, lethal hatred that Republicans aim at Obama, that words alone cannot fully describe it. It must be seen for its full, revolting quality to be felt.
But then came the bad news:
The Court had ruled that the Act was Constitutional under the power of the Congress to levy taxes. Thus, the hated individual mandate–-requiring the wealthy to buy insurance–-was legal after all.
And suddenly the Right saw its orgiastic fantasies disappear.
Later in the day, Schmidt posted a conventional press release: “I’m disappointed by the Supreme Court ruling….”
Some commentators mocked Schmidt’s moment of orgiastic hatred, comparing it to the famous scene in When Harry Met Sally: Seated in a diner, Meg Ryan’s Sally fakes an orgasm to show Billy Crystal’s Harry how easy it is to fool a man.
But there is a huge difference between Sally and Schmidt.
Sally was clearly faking to drive home a humorous point. Schmidt’s joy wasn’t faked–-it was primal, and fueled by pure hatred.
On March 6, 2012, Schmidt was defeated for re-election in the GOP primary by Brad Wenstrup.
After World War II, the United States occupied West Germany and rooted out those former Nazis who had so arrogantly and brutally ruled over the lives of millions. And America helped to set in power a government equally determined to stamp out a return to Nazism.
It remains to be seen if Americans, as a people, have the courage to do the same for themselves.