A big hurrah for those five members of the US Supreme Court, including Chief Justice Roberts, whose votes upheld the constitutionality of what is now commonly called Obamacare. Originally intended as a disparagement, the term is increasingly used with pride and confidence by those who defend it--and wish only to improve on its initial success in bringing the concept of universal health care to a reality in this country.
I have heard it argued, and I suspect it's true, that Roberts acted out of concern for the historical accounting of his court's legacy. This is a moment of reprieve from the increasing appearance of naked partisanship that has threatened to become its lasting reputation.
From the point of view of one who observes these things in mindfulness of the teachings of the Buddha, the Supreme Court decision brings us as a nation one step closer to the practice of compassion for all our citizens. In his op-ed article today, Paul Krugman rightly expressed dismay at the sheer cruelty of those who, often virulently, oppose every effort to assure the provision of health care for all those who need it--the most basic of all human rights. It takes a cruel mind, indeed, to challenge the needs of the very young, the sick, and the elderly and to deprive them of access to the care they need.
Those who now declare their readiness to push forward with further efforts to repeal the health care bill are largely the same as those who loudly proclaim their faith in American exceptionalism. Yet America lags far behind other developed countries in the provision of this most basic human need. This is no way to be exceptional, still less reason to boast about it. It is a national shame that we shirk our moral duty to address the suffering of the most vulnerable among us. We arrogantly lecture others about their failings in matters of human rights, but fail notably to see what the words of the Bible call the "beam" in our own eye.
Quite apart from all legal questions, yesterday's Supreme Court decision reaffirms our country's obligation to exercise compassion for even the humblest and least powerful of its citizens. So, yes: hurrah!