But let's say there had been a lot of rain recently and so a small lake formed on the White House lawn. And suddenly the participants in the beer summit look over and see a little girl drowning in the lake that formed on the White House lawn.
They have a moral obligation to save her life, correct? Obvious, right?
That's the point that moral philosopher Peter Singer makes in his book, “The Life You Can Save." Singer makes a series of points -- the logic of which is ironclad:
First premise: Suffering and death from lack of food, shelter and medical care are bad.
Second premise: If it is in your power to prevent something bad from happening, without sacrificing anything nearly as important, it is wrong not to do so.
Third premise: By donating to aid agencies, you can prevent suffering and death from lack of food, shelter and medical care, without sacrificing anything nearly as important.
Conclusion: Therefore, if you do not donate to aid agencies, you are doing something wrong.
Singer is talking about international aid, but his points could easily be applied to the health care debate in the United States.
So let's go back to the beer summit analogy: Let's suppose that instead of being 50 feet away, the girl drowning in the lake is 500 feet away -- let's say she's across the street. But if the people at the beer summit get up from their table -- there is still time to save her. They have a moral obligation to save her correct? Again, the moral obligation of the situation is obvious to the point of being ridiculous.
Now imagine that she's not 500 feet away -- she's 500 miles away, and she's not drowning in a small lake, she's drowning because she has cystic fibrosis and her lungs are filling with fluid and she has no health care. But if the people at the beer summit act immediately -- they can still save her life. Again, they obviously have a moral obligation to save her life.
See that's the thing, Republicans (and Blue Dog Democrats) see the girl drowning in the lake, it's in their power to save her, and they walk right on by. In fact Republicans make a virtue out of letting people drown, of letting people suffer and die because they lack health insurance. Because Republicans worship the false idol of Laissez-Faire Capitalism -- the moral calculus that the rest of us follow ("if it is within your power to save a human life you have a moral obligation to do so") -- falls on deaf ears with them.
[And don't give me any BS about how 'Republicans really like health care they just want the market to provide it.' We have a market based system right now and 48 million Americans don't have health insurance. Republicans are fine with that because the Strict Father Model worldview they subscribe to says that poor people deserve to suffer and deserve to be punished in this way -- in order to teach them important moral lessons. Applied to the current health care crisis in our country the strict father model is sociopathic but Republicans seem incapable of seeing the world any other way.]
So just to be clear, let me translate Peter Singer's 3 points above as they apply to the current health care debate:
First premise: Suffering and death from lack of medical care is bad.
Second premise: If it is in within Congress's power to prevent something bad from happening, without sacrificing anything nearly as important, it is wrong not to do so.
Third premise: By approving legislation to create universal health care, the U.S. Congress can prevent suffering and death from lack of medical care, without sacrificing anything nearly as important.
Conclusion: Therefore, if Congress fails to pass universal health care, they are doing something wrong.
The health care debate in Congress is not just a piece of legislation, it's a moral test of our nation. Failure to pass universal health care at this point is a moral evil, akin to letting others drown whom we have the power to save.