Our Chapter In History

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Washington, October 4, 2013 | comments

We have heard much debate over the last week…

     arguments and accusations being made from both sides.


I have heard references to being “terrorists”, to “jihad”

      and to having “bombs strapped to our chests.”


Mr. Speaker,

I spent one year, 2005-2006,

   perhaps the bloodiest time of the war

      as an Army Combat Surgeon in Iraq


In this chamber,

I have seen no “terrorists”, no “jihad”,

     nor any “bombs strapped to chests”.


If you have been to war,

      you would not use such rhetoric here.


Mr. Speaker, colleagues…


We have engaged in so much debate

       concerning the Affordable Care Act


We’ve discussed it from every angle:

      the affordability,

      the methods of implementation

      those that may benefit,

      and those that will not


I’ve contended that as a nation we should have focused on who is uncared for in our nation,

and how we provide care.


Addressing the uninsured

    would certainly fall under this framework.


I’ve contended that a form, a mere piece of paper -

 that says that you have insurance, or a plan,


   does not mean that you have access to care,

   nor does it mean that you have coverage for treatment


Many from one side of the aisle have said,

   “You lost the election, get over it.”


Indeed, the Republicans lost the presidential election.

     I’m over it.


However, all of us in this body won elections.


Each of us was elected to serve the American people as well.


And while the president has a seat at the head of the table,

     he does not have the ONLY seat at the table,

        and we all need to take our seats at the table.


I look forward, not backward…

     except to learn from history.


“I’m over” the presidential election.

What I am “not over”, is what we are becoming.


What we are becoming is of great concern to me

 As much concern to me as the Affordable Care Act itself.


I have a concern about who we are,

      what we consider to be right,

         and what we think is wrong.


I hope that everyone has taken the opportunity to look at our past


Our glorious history is all around us.


As you look around, and review our great history, you see the legacies left from previous generations


What is OUR legacy?

What will this generation, this Congress, leave behind?


Will it be that we have a disregard for the law?


…a disregard for laws that were voted on and signed?


Waivers, exemptions, special subsidies…

     All of which show a disregard for applying laws equally,

        as well as a disregard for the rule of law.


Applying laws equally / The rule of law

     …the very ideals that Americans have proudly touted

           for over two centuries.


Are we deciding to abandon these core values?


Is this the way that we want to carve out our chapter in American history?


…the history of a great nation –

A nation that was formed to be:

     “Of the people,

         by the people,

          and for the people.”


THIS concept,

 and the freedom that comes with it,

     requires a level of responsibility in order to sustain it.


Pope John Paul II, when visiting America in 1995,

     spoke of the freedom that we enjoy,

         and the responsibility that comes with it.


He summed that up by saying:

     “Freedom consists not in doing what we like,

But in having the right to do what we ought.”


I pray that the rule of law,

     and equality for all Americans,


…are fundamental principles that are etched in all ofour hearts.


With the foundation of these principles,

   And the civility that accompanies such,


We are obligated to come together, to find common ground,

     …and to talk to one another.


And…Lord willing…we will.

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