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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Don Woodard: Long live Obamacare!

Seven years ago President Barack Obama brought forth upon this continent a new Made in America health plan. Republican rustlers mockingly branded it “Obamacare,” a term they deemed pejorative, but it has become common household usage – a word, if not beloved, certainly acceptable in polite society.

On April 5, 2010, the Business Press published my letter titled “Man of the People.” An excerpt:

“When the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. in 1922, President Warren G. Harding delivered the address and Edwin Markham read his immortal poem, Lincoln, the Man of the People. As I watched President Barack Obama sign the Health Care Reform bill into law, I thought about Markham’s poem: Lincoln and Obama – both from Illinois. Lincoln: Slavery and secession. Obama: Health care and recession.

Up from log cabin to the Capitol,

One fire was on his spirit, one resolve –

To send the keen ax to the root of wrong,

Clearing a free way for the feet of God,

The eyes of conscience testing every stroke …

The grip that swung the ax in Illinois

Was on the pen that set a people free.

“The grip that swung the ax in Illinois was on the pen that set a people free.”

But even before the president’s signature on the health bill was dry, there came Obamacare epithets. Charges and calumnies. Acts of violence against the bill’s supporters. Cannon to the right of them! Cannon to the left of them! Ten thousand times ten thousand times the politicians all over this broad land boasted that the evil thing would be aborted the first day they took office. But miracles happen! On March 24 those boasting politicians lowered their flag without a bullet fired! Without a vote!

Obamacare! Obamacare! The fearful trip is done. You have weathered every challenge: Legislative! Judicial! Executive! You have won! As Speaker Paul Ryan has proclaimed: “It’s the law of the land.”

A la Walt Whitman, the port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting! And Longfellow’s Ship of State? Sail on! Sail on! Sail on and on O Bipartisanship! – to better Health, Happiness and Prosperity!

Don Woodard is a Fort Worth businessman and author of Black Diamonds! Black Gold! The Saga of Texas Pacific Coal and Oil Company.

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