Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Constitution and Obamacare

I've just finished reading a book on the making of the Constitution. "Miracle at Philadephia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention" covers the summer of 1787 when a group of men gathered together to create the document we all (in the US) live by now.

I took a lot of notes while I read, but I decided not to post all of them as I did with a previous book. However, I was struck by similarities to the recent health-care package that was passed. While I'm no fan of the health-care package, it turns out some very well known people (e.g. Patrick Henry) were no fan of the Constitution.

The Constitution was written in Philadelphia in secret. The conventioneers were very careful not to leave notes where outsiders could see them and were cautioned not to tell anyone what was going on. The press cooperated with the secrecy, even suggesting that they were better off not knowing. While the health-care package was not crafted in complete secrecy, there certainly were people who thought we were better off not knowing all of the details ahead of time.

I've also been involved in a few discussions with people who think the problem with the package was that it just wasn't "sold" well enough. They feel like the health-care bill needs a good PR story. After the Constitution was created and voted on by Congress, the drafters including James Madison went out to "sell" the document.

One final comparison point is that "we the people" never voted on the Constitution.  Representatives of the people voted on the document. Many of these representatives felt like the people weren't capable of understanding the paper. They felt they were more educated and knew what was best.

I'm not trying to imply that the Constitution and Obamacare are of equal importance or that they both fall into the same category. I just couldn't help but notice the similarities...

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