02.28.2010 0

Editorial: The Battle May Be Lost, but the War Is Not

  • On: 03/22/2010 10:03:51
  • In: Health Care
  • The die has been cast. Last night, despite overwhelming opposition by the American people to the government taking over the nation’s entire health care system, the House of Representatives voted 219 to 212 to do just that, adopting the Senate version of ObamaCare.

    Despite the victory lap House Democrats took on Capitol Hill last night, and Barack Obama at the White House, the American people should not be disheartened. It was for their efforts alone that this process divided the Congressional majority for a year, making it long, bloody, and costly.

    34 Democrats joined with 178 Republicans to cast bipartisan opposition to the measure. That is no mistake. Without the tenacity of the American people, expressed in the tea parties, at the town halls, and in hundreds of thousands of phone calls, emails, letters, and faxes sent to Washington and district-level offices, this bill would have surely passed a year ago.

    One is reminded of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, where in the ancient world, after being betrayed by a local shepherd (Arlen Specter?), 300 Spartans, along with 700 Thespians and another 400 Thebans held the narrow mountain Greek pass on the third day of fighting, inflicting grave casualties against the Persian horde led by the tyrant Xerxes. The bulk of the 7,000 Allied infantry who had stood with them the first two days of fighting were ordered in retreat while the doomed Spartans stood their ground, buying the Greeks much-needed time to reconstitute their forces.

    The Battle of Thermopylae was lost. The Spartans were wiped out almost to the last man. But the battle was so costly for the Persians that they lost the war.

    As chronicled by Victor Davis Hanson, “The Greeks took encouragement from the unprecedented sacrifice of a Spartan King and his royal guard on their behalf. And so a few weeks later at the sea battle of Salamis near Athens — and then again the next year at the great infantry collision on the plains of Plataea — the Greeks defeated, and eventually destroyed, the Persian invaders. The rallying cry of the victors was Thermopylae, the noble sacrifice of the final stand of the outnumbered Greeks, and especially the courage of the fallen Three Hundred Spartans under King Leonidas.”

    The example is instructive. Despite overwhelming supermajorities in both houses of Congress, the American people nonetheless stood up throughout 2009 and 2010 in opposition to the unbridled expansion of government power embodied in ObamaCare. They stood in the way, and the sacrifice they made has indeed bloodied the Congressional majority, and bought much time for the people to reawaken to the dangers of an overreaching regime.

    The political paradigm has shifted. Just as Thermopylae was a rallying cry for the Greeks as they went on to defeat the Persian million-man horde, the American people should take heart in what they were able to accomplish in battling the ObamaCare abomination. Thermopylae, after all, was a single battle. The war is not yet lost.


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