I think it’s fair to say that there has been a degree of disquiet in America lately. A creeping suspicion that America may not even be a country anymore, that there is no such thing as an American nation, an American people, an American person, or even an American citizen. After all, if a person from thousands of miles away, just by moving his physical presence into a territory that on maps is defined as that of the United States of America immediately becomes American, it means that the entire human race are Americans who simply have yet to show up on American territory. This should hardly be a cause for concern; just give them time.
There is simply no issue, no matter how fundamental that those Americans who are already in America can agree on. Freedom of speech? No. Of assembly? No. The right to keep firearms? Heck, no. The language in which government business should be conducted? No. The right, by those already in America, to determine who may come there next? Not even close. The method by which presidents are elected? No. Who should have the right to vote in elections? No. The boundaries between the three branches of government? What branches? Who built America? No. Are the people who we thought had built her any good? Depends whom you ask. Should people be advanced on merit? You got to be kidding me. Should women who complain about sexual harassment be believed? Depends who they claim did the harassing.
None of these issues enjoys the support of a clear majority of “Americans” one way or the other. With that in mind, one could be, perhaps, rather pessimistic as to “America” retaining its status as any kind of unified political entity. But it turns out that should you be so inclined, you would be wrong! There is one thing that the vast majority of “Americans”, regardless if they came here across the frozen Bering Straits, or in chains across the Atlantic, on the Mayflower, or on a makeshift raft across the Rio Grande, can agree on. And here it is: COVERAGE FOR PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS.
That’s all folks. America is saved. We know what it means to be an American. An American is a person who believes that he cannot be denied healthcare insurance, or offered a limited healthcare insurance policy, based on his pre-existing medical conditions. From president Trump to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, from West Virginia to the Bronx, all “Americans” adhere to this foundational principle. Now you may say that this is because some “Americans” are misled. Because some of them do not understand that denying private insurers the ability to limit exposure is tantamount to a full government takeover of the healthcare business in America. You would be wrong. The vast majority of Americans perfectly understand this point.
It is true that roughly half of them prefer to be lied to by the Republican Party and by President Trump and told that the Tooth Faerie and Santa Claus are real and that insurance companies that are told by the government how to conduct their business are “private businesses”. The other half simply cherish the government’s take over of yet another part of the American economy. When he and she share a pint of Haagen Dazs, she may sneak a peak at the calorie label and feel a twinge of regret. But he is tucking away and so is she. At this point, what difference does it make?
According to a recent poll, the only generation of Americans of whom less than 40% thought that the government should play a bigger role in helping individual Americans was the WWII “Silent Generation”, soon to pass from this world. With Boomers it was about half and with Millennials and “Z-ers”, closer to three quarters. This is no coincidence, because the Silent Generation was the last generation of Americans. After them came people who happen to live in America either by accident of birth or by choice, whether their own or their parents’. Perhaps reading these lines makes you angry. Fine. But remember this: every government check you get, every government regulation that you like, that you personally rely on, cannot but come at the expense of the rights and freedoms enumerated in the Constitution.
There is no free lunch. There is no loving government checks that you cash and hating those that are cashed by others. There is no liberty in the shadow of big government and big government is everywhere. It is in the food labels and in OSHA regulations, in Social Security and in 911 service. Big government isn’t evil, though it most certainly can be. Ever since civilization began, most people lived under big governments. Today, we all do. There was a brief period, a couple of centuries perhaps, when a few mostly English speaking people enjoyed limited government and personal liberty. That period is long since gone.
What is unique about this where America is concerned is only one thing, but it is a biggie. Alone in all of history, America is a nation and a political entity that was born out of the negation of a big and invasive government. The American revolt against Britain was done with only one purpose and only one reason: to ensure that individual freedom always remained the supreme principle of the land and that no government could ever infringe on it. To be American was to subscribe to that principle. Many didn’t and their descendants now live in Canada and still pledge their allegiance to the British Monarch.
What we are seeing now is that the foundational principle upon which America the country and America as a nation was built is no longer upheld by the vast majority of Americans. That means that America the constitutional republic is dead and its transformation to a quasi-democratic oligarchy is all but complete. There is no point in grieving, what is done is done. Let us not, however, pretend that the past can be restored, let us be honest with ourselves: most of us don’t want it to be.