Choosing to Inflict Pain

Republican Senators have deliberately decided to Do Harm. Their sham of a health care "replacement" bill takes cold blooded aim at depriving medical treatment for millions of the poorest among us. This is no unintended consequence but a direct shot at destroying human well-being. Much political strategy is murkier and legitimately arguable. This isn't. It's a despicable selling out to cruelty and greed. Taking away health care is terrible enough, but using those cuts to fund a massive tax bundle to the rich multiplies the wrong doing.

The Catholic church includes health care among the "rights" of every human being on earth. That's without favor or special qualification like "worthiness" or social status or ability to pay. Every recent pope has declared this unequivocal stand and it is deeply embedded in the ethical expectations of followers of Jesus. Like much of Catholic teaching, it is often ignored when it conflicts with hunger for status, power and money.

When moral compassion is lacking in any Christian branch, hypocrisy seriously damages church credibility and repels outsiders from entering. Moral failure is inevitable on a personal basis, but open, collective conspiracy to hurt people magnifies the scope of intention to do injustice. Catholics are no more or less culpable than others who utter pious platitudes about upholding the good of the nation, but in this space I'm looking at the Catholic example for its clarity and depth.  

Does it not matter to Paul Ryan, a Catholic who crafted the even more draconian House version of the assault, or the principal Senate backers of the latest bill, that they fly directly in the face of that ethical mandate?

Does it not matter to Catholic backers of the scheme that their "right to life" convictions leave out health care, adequate housing and quality schooling as essential services due every single person?

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Does it not matter to them that a transfer of huge savings from slashes to Medicaid are destined to go to the nation's elite, a stunning move to further inequality of resources and income?

Does it not matter that those who will suffer most from this destruction belong to the same, virtually invisible, workforce that trims their hedges and cleans their houses?

Does anything matter but an inhumane drive to undo the achievements of a former president whom many despise?

Some may act on tugs of conscience to oppose this attack in defense of those whom Catholic church, most poignantly Pope Francis, vows to protect. Others seem as resolved as their non-Catholic Christian allies to do as much harm as they can get away with, leveling ObamaCare without alienating those whose political support might be lost.

Meanwhile, my "quality of mercy" has been strained. Hate won't suffice but love of the perpetrators is on hold. 

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