Any strategy of nonviolent civil resistance has to first make a good faith effort to achieve its end through the available political and legal means. But there comes a time when changing the law requires acts of conscience.By Shikha Dalmia
03.24.10, 12:01 AM EDT
Americans will lose control over basic decisions if this law stands.
President Barack Obama came into office promising hope and change. But he might get more change than he hoped for. By foisting ObamaCare on a deeply unwilling country he might have set the stage for the largest civil disobedience movement since the civil rights era, which, if it plays its cards right, could undo his legislation and his legacy.
President Obama is betting that come November the bruising, yearlong battle that he has just dragged the country through will be a distant memory. But that profoundly underestimates the dismay of a large segment of the public that sees what he signed Tuesday as a fraudulent piece of legislation based on fraudulent thinking backed by fraudulent facts enacted through a fraudulent process. (Yes, Americans do care about "process," Mr. President. It's another name for representative government.)
President Obama tried for a year to convince the country that the cure for rising health care costs and the swelling ranks of the uninsured was a de facto government takeover of the health care system--only to be rebuffed in poll after poll. And if there was any doubt as to where the public stood, it was put to rest by Republican Scott Brown's stunning December victory in Massachusetts, the land of Big Government.
But instead of backing down President Obama went for broke using tactics more reprehensible than the "business as usual politics" that he had pledged to change when he came to office.
First, there were the budgetary magic tricks that he and his Congressional enablers got the highly respected Congressional Budget Office to perform. The last CBO assessment--that pushed the bill through--showed that the Obama plan would reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion over 10 years. The reality, once all the double counting and fantasy savings are eliminated, is that it will add $562 billion.
But the CBO is not the only entity whose honor Democrats have violated--perhaps beyond repair. Federal taxpayers will also get royally screwed when they have to pay for all the sweetheart deals that Obama's Cogressional minions cut behind closed doors and whose true scope will only become apparent in the coming months. (Bart Stupak is rumored to have gotten $700,000 for airport repairs as his sell-out price.)
Worst of all were the shameless parliamentary tactics that Democrats deployed. The Founders deliberately constructed many roadblocks for new laws to prevent elected officials from straying too far from the will of the people. But Democrats could care less about parliamentary niceties.
They are poised to use the so-called nuclear option or "reconciliation" to square the House and the Senate bills. This option will allow the Senate to circumvent the normal committee process to make fixes to the House bill through a simple majority without risking a filibuster. But reconciliation is meant exclusively for budgetary matters--not ramrodding sweeping social legislation on a party-line vote. This is why the Senate parliamentarian--a completely nonpartisan figure--has to approve its use for every fix. But Democrats are poised to have Vice President Joe Biden overrule him should he dare to stand in their way. In short, instead of bending the cost curve, President Obama is bending the rules of accountable government.
It is hardly surprising then that Americans are feeling a growing panic as they watch their constitutional republic descend into a banana republic. President Obama is fond of quoting Mahatma Gandhi's line that "we should be the change we want to see." But Gandhi also said that "civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless and corrupt." Americans instinctively understand this which is why pockets of resistance to ObamaCare are already emerging. The question is only whether they can be constructively harnessed into a grassroots, Gandhi-style civil disobedience movement powerful enough to undo this monstrosity.
READ FULL STORY at Forbes.com
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