The Man Booker literary award has just been announced. The Nobel and the MacArthur “genius” award winners were named just a few weeks ago. If you haven’t pocketed one or another, don’t despair; by the time the 2018 autumnal equinox rolls around, there will be the Oscars, Emmys, Tonys, BAFTAs, Pulitzers, Pritzkers, Giller, Golden Globes, Golden Boots, Golden Gloves, MVPs, Vezina, Lady Byng and so on and so forth. With so many prizes up for grabs each year, one might think the whole business was fashioned by Lewis Carroll’s Dodo, who proclaimed: “EVERYBODY has won, and all must have prizes.”
Despite this plethora of prizes, I would ask your indulgence as I sneak one more into the mix. I hereby announce: The Cain Award. Named after that Biblical fellow, who famously asked, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
The winner of the inaugural Cain Award (and winner by ten lengths over all other runners in the field) is Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin.
When asked by a high school student in Wisconsin whether he considered health care a right or a privilege, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) compared access to health care to access to food and shelter, arguing that all three should be considered “privileges” for those who can afford them.
“I think it’s probably more of a privilege,” Johnson said in response to the question. “Do you consider food a right? Do you consider clothing a right? Do you consider shelter a right?”*
Johnson has been a staunch proponent of removing the requirement that health insurers not discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. He has defended his position with the analogy that
people with pre-existing conditions [are like] drivers that have been in a car accident, [and] that the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions is tantamount to requiring auto insurers to sell insurance to people that have crashed their car.
So, what can the unprivileged—those without food or shelter or clothes or health care—do when Senator un-Good Samaritan walks on down the road, ignoring them—the beaten and naked—lying in the ditch. Perhaps they can resort to prayer. Remember the envelope I mentioned in an earlier post, the one containing the Tibetan prayer flags?**
Well, maybe we can mail a set to each of them—but wait, they have no right to shelter, so they probably have no mailbox to receive the flags. Sorry, folks, you don't have a prayer.