Tuesdays are a fun day for me. My best friend and I get to coach some high school kids and teach them a little bit about roundball. Sure, we coach rec-league basketball but still, the kids love it and so do we. So I was a little bummed out when I came home last night to find my sister and mother almost in tears.
They were watching Obama’s farewell speech. An American icon said his official goodbyes to a generation he inspired to simply do better. I could comment on the content of the speech itself. Or I could relay to you that within the first five minutes of Sean Hannity’s show he had already given up on celebrating a president and started to delineate Trump’s agenda. It would be more prudent however, to demonstrate just how Obama changed this country for the better. And what better way to begin this discussion than by commenting on today’s Trump Presser.
First it was Sean Spicer. The Rhode Island native and Connecticut College graduate walked up to the podium and began condemning Buzzfeed for their horrible journalism. He was right to do so. Then VPEOTUS replaced Spicer and did more of the same. Next up, the PEOTUS himself. You guessed it; he also went ballistic on Buzzfeed and CNN.
Predictably so, the majority of questions placed a focus on the recent reports about the Russian influence on our elections. In fact, the first handful of questions basically asked the same thing. After a brief interlude from Trump’s lawyer, who described how Trump would disclose his conflicts of interest, we finally got a question that had nothing to do with Russia. Yes, some brave soul from some news publication actually dared to ask a question about Obamacare. The paraphrased question: “What do you (Trump) plan to do about the repeal of Obamacare and do you have a replacement program?”
Trump responded by asserting he will make good on his campaign promise of repealing ACA. Then he made the usual unsubstantiated claims that a replacement program will made into law only a couple weeks after the repeal. Upon first glance, this statement is neither sexy nor surprising. Anyone who has watched at least five minutes of CNN this week has heard about the GOP’s attempts to repeal the law. So, what does this have to do with Obama’s legacy? Surely, the removal of his signature bill can only be detrimental to how historians and the American Memory perceive our first Black president.
Well, in the infamous words of the Trumpster himself: Wrong.
The Pursuit of Happiness.
Fair and Free Elections.
Those are a list of just some of the principles Americans have accepted at maxims now perceived to be guaranteed from simply being a citizen. Some have been cemented into law (Gun Ownership). Others are theoretical (Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness) yet hold a weight as though they were legislation. These things we consider sacred. Untouchable. They are as American as The Simpsons and hating soccer. Well add another one to that list- Universal Healthcare.
When parsing Trump’s response to the “repeal and replace” question, one thing becomes clear. Universal healthcare is here to stay. Sure, Obamacare may be replaced. But this is exactly my point! It is going to be replaced, not banished. Remember the days when Republicans were calling for the Supreme Court to rule Obamacare unconstitutional? Neither do I. Obamacare is not synonymous with universal healthcare, it is merely a manifestation of it. When the GOP replaces Obamacare with something else they are tacitly agreeing that accessible, just healthcare for all is an American principle. In fact, it is the newest one added to the list. The 44th President tackled one of the country’s most pressing problems and solved it by insisting that the government had a duty to help everyone obtain affordable healthcare.
His bill will be replaced. His movement will not. President Barack Obama has transformed a once radical, communist idea into an American axiom. Ten years ago if you discussed universal health care, you were sneered at and labeled a socialist. Today when discussing universal healthcare, you are a patriot and champion of the little man.
President Obama did not change the American mind. He simply revealed what was on. And for that, we tip the cap. Sometimes true courage has the uncanny ability to hide in plain sight. I have a feeling posterity will not forget how a junior senator from Illinois permanently altered the American consciousness for the better, displaying the bravery we have come to expect from our fearless leaders.FOLLOW THE OPEN FIELD