Politics Nation – Conservatives have a new talking point: The Affordable Care Act is like the Fugitive Slave Act. Right-wingers are saying that requirements for runaway slaves to be returned to their masters is comparable to requiring health insurance companies cover people with pre-existing conditions and creating marketplaces that give people access to healthcare.
Conservative commentator George Will joined the chorus in an interview with NPR Wednesday. ”I hear Democrats say, ‘The Affordable Care Act is the law,’ as though we’re supposed to genuflect at that sunburst of insight and move on. Well, the Fugitive Slave Act was the law, separate but equal was the law, lots of things are the law and then we change them.”
He is far from the only conservative to make the comparison. In fact, President Obama has already made fun of another lawmaker for saying it. Talk of slavery comes up more often than expected. From the pundits to the lawmakers, we’ve seen at least four different progressive ideas skewered by the right just this year.
The abortion-slavery comparison is a common one from the right, in fact anti-abortion activists will often argue abortion is actually worse than slavery from a moral perspective. At least two Republicans have connected the two this year. Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan compared his fellow anti-abortion activists to abolitionists and Lincoln, in April, and former Gov. Mike Huckabee made a similar comparison at a rally in July.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas made the connection between slavery and affirmative action in his concurring opinion in Fisher v. University of Texas this past June.
“Indeed, the argument that educational benefits justify racial discrimination was advanced in support of racial segregation in the 1950’s, but emphatically rejected by this Court. And just as the alleged educational benefits of segregation were insufficient to justify racial discrimination then, see Brown v. Board of Education,” he wrote, “the alleged educational benefits of diversity cannot justify racial discrimination today.”
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