The Health Care Reform debate and passage has me thinking of camels these days. Let's start with the obvious:
A camel is a horse designed by committee.
Attributed to Sir Alec Issigonis
Here, of course, the health care reform bill is mutant camel with pork thrown in for the insurance industry, various special state interests and a special deal with abortion foes. The stallion we once strived for, the single payer or public option is gone, replaced by a sturdy, but oddly shaped beast of burden.
more camels below
Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel. - G. K. Chesterton
Yes, it's a complicated piece of legislation, but it's taking on a complicated task. Perhaps, we can't expect it to be a 3 page bill.
If the camel once gets his nose in a tent, his body will soon follow. - Saudi Arabian proverb
This proverb is often-quoted by fear mongerers such as Conservative Hero Barry Goldwater who warned of the "evils" of federal aid to education. Their argument is essentially that once we get federal regulation and control of the insurance industry, more regulation and control of the insurance industry will follow.
We can only hope that these fears come true, and that the camel's nose leads to a public option, and perhaps eventually a single-payer.
The straw that broke the camel's back
which is also referred to as
the final straw
This quote is a favorite of fear-mongerers as well. One of its earliest uses in English Literature is in Charles Dickens' Dombey and Son. Certainly, Great Britain's national health insurance was a major improvement over the destitution portrayed in Dickens' novels.
A few other camel quotes come to mind:
A camel makes an elephant feel like a jet plane.
Certainly, with a 2014 implementation date, this camel will be slow moving indeed. If we think back to Ted Kennedy's promise of health insurance for all, made in 1978, then perhaps a snail is a more appropriate analogy.
Trust in Allah, but tie your camel first. - Arab proverb
Like this Arab proverb, we may trust in God to bring us good health, but we ultimately need to take responsibility for insuring that we have good health care.
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
While the rich have always had good healthcare, insuring that everyone has good healthcare is path to a greater good. Also, rich people and their children will be in better health if their nannies, gardeners, school teachers and playmates are in better health and don't spread diseases.
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle if it is lightly greased.
The grease here could refer to healthcare reform, or Pelosi threading the needle of passing health care by doling out a little lard along the way.
I distrust camels, and anyone else who can go a week without a drink.
Joe E. Lewis (American Comedian and Singer, 1902-1971)
But we'd all be healthier if we go a week without drinking.
I will spare you Ayatollah Khomeni's fatwaabout not eating the meat of a camel who has been subject to sexual abuse, and leave you with Ogden Nash's query:
The camel has a single hump,
The dromedary, two;
Or else the other way around;
I'm never sure. Are you?
Ogden Nash, The Camel
Hopefully, this will soon pass our bi-cameral legislature and be signed into law.
Let's all take the day off, go to the zoo, and celebrate the passage of healthcare reform!