Letter to the editor | Learn from ‘Lincoln’

October 4, 2013 

There are two examples in our American legislative history that may help convince some members of Congress to accept political realities, resist the appeal of public tantrums and end this sophomoric, obstructionist government shutdown.

Anyone who saw last year’s movie “Lincoln” might agree the film was more about the amendment to end slavery than the man who fought for its passage. In short, the 18th Amendment narrowly made the two-thirds requirement in Congress, even failing on its first attempt.

But the long-accepted institution of slavery was over along with the war that fractured our nation. The law didn’t end inequality but it was a significant step forward.

By contrast, Prohibition’s 18th Amendment easily passed the House and Senate but was such a socially flawed and unenforceable law that it was repealed 13 years later.

The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was passed by Congress, albeit narrowly, signed by the president and was ruled favorably by the Supreme Court.

Those opposed to the ACA might take heart in the hope of this law failing but, in the meanwhile, there are other and more important issues to consider, debate and act on.

At the very least, inaction is hardly a viable campaign platform or legislative track record.

“If I don’t get my way I promise to do nothing.” That’s hardly a way to get votes — let alone promote our national interest.

Chuck Risio, Boalsburg

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