[An Ethics Alarms reflection on the Christmas Eve Senate vote passing that esteemed body’s version of health care reform…in the tradition of “A Visit From Saint Nicholas,” because 1) you haven’t read enough parodies of that poem this year, 2) it seemed appropriate, but mostly 3) the version Sen. Burris read on the Senate floor was so terrible that I had to get its taste out of my mouth.]
‘Twas the day before Christmas, and in the U.S.
Senate health care reform proved our ethics a mess.
A party line vote on a bill of such scope?
Where’s integrity? Principle? Competence?
Not a single Republican willing to bend?
Nor a Democrat rejecting means for the end,
Like mass state exemptions, abortion support,
Constitution defiance (bound for Supreme Court),
Or Medicare cuts so the cost can be paid,
Although no one believes that the cuts will be made?
Why undertake health care reform; why begin it,
If nobody honestly cares what is in it?
Or knows what is in it, since all will admit
They’ve read the staff summaries, maybe, a bit.
It’s all about power; it’s all about spin
“Must “win” for Obama!”
“No! Stick it to him!”
And while bill opponents caused panic with lies
About euthanized seniors and fascism’s rise,
The bill’s young supporters offered sex for persuasion,
Harry Reid thought race-baiting would suit the occasion…
And the media, its objectivity busted,
Cheered one side or the other, and could not be trusted.
It’s not rising health care costs threat’ning this nation
Or who to insure, or how much to ration;
It’s the absence of principle, courage, respect,
And trustworthiness in those we seem to elect.
But despair not, you ethical women and men!
Let’s try to do better in two-thousand ten!
Staying true to our values will help make things right.
So Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!