It’s so strange watching Mitch McConnell crafting a healthcare bill under a cloud of secrecy at the same time that everybody pretty much knows about the consequent disasters, beginning with the 20+ million who will lose healthcare. I feel like I’m in the position of the God and Jesus in Paradise Lost as they watch Satan wend his way through Chaos and Night on his way to corrupt Adam and Eve. Satan may think he is one sneaky devil but God knows exactly what is happening.
In Book Three God explains to Satan’s plans to Jesus and the good angels and all the damage he will do. Despite being omnipotent, God can’t save Adam (“die he or Justice must”), and it may be that Democrats can’t save healthcare.
Oh, and another parallel is that McConnell, like Satan, is driven by spite. (See my post on how this is Trump’s motivating principle as well.) Having been thwarted by Barack Obama, McConnell is determined to take revenge by making innocent people pay.
Here’s God discussing with Jesus what is about to happen:
Only begotten Son, seest thou what rage
Transports our adversary, whom no bounds
Prescribed, no bars of Hell, nor all the chains
Heaped on him there, nor yet the main abyss
Wide interrupt can hold; so bent he seems
On desperate revenge, that shall redound
Upon his own rebellious head. And now
Through all restraint broke loose he wings his way
Not far off Heav’n, in the Precincts of light,
Directly towards the new created World…
And now imagine McConnell himself looking down upon Obamacare’s beneficiaries, as Satan does upon Adam and Eve, and excusing his actions. Satan essentially says that it’s basically God’s fault what is about to happen to humankind, just as McConnell says that it’s Obama’s. Neither has anything personal against vulnerable humans (in our case, the poor, the sick and those with pre-existing conditions). They may even be telling the truth when they say they are loath to bring about their destruction.
Satan says he must behave as he does, however, because of “public reason” (reasons of state), honor, and his responsibilities to his empire. For McConnell, “public reason” would be the Republican imperative to end a new safety net program, “honor” would be the GOP promise to repeal Obamacare, and “Empire” would be the GOP.
This is the “tyrant’s plea” because it’s a way of rationalizing the harm that is planned. Those who will suffer and those who will die after losing Paradise/healthcare are collateral damage:
Thank him who puts me loath to this revenge
On you who wrong me not for him who wronged.
And should I at your harmless innocence
Melt, as I doe, yet public reason just,
Honor and Empire with revenge enlarged,
By conquering this new World, compels me now
To do what else though damned I should abhor.
So spake the Fiend, and with necessity,
The tyrant’s plea, excused his devilish deeds.
Who would you say is more like Satan, Trump or McConnell? In that Satan is a savvy operator who figures out how to circumvent defenses, I say the Senate Majority Leader.