Careful What You Wish For…You May Get It

“Hope – especially desperate hope – is a powerful and oftentimes dangerous emotion, for it tends to objectify the heart’s desire in a manner that inevitably clouds the faculties of the mind and stuffs a ball gag in the mouth of Reason.” – Gene Hoyas (Feel free to post that quote on your Facebook page. I can’t since I don’t have a Facebook page because I just just don’t do the Facebook thing. It’s the kinda guy I am.)

Hope is the force behind every wish: we hope the wish comes true and the more fervent the hope, the more impassioned the wish – in spite of the ancient adage that gently reminds us to be careful what we wish for, as wishes are often granted in full.

That said, I had to chuckle – chortle, actually – when I read Archbishop (soon to be Cardinal) Timothy Dolan’s response to the latest unconstitutional power grab by the Department of Health and Human Services:

That’s why the new federal edict mandating sterilization and contraception coverage in all health care plans has set off alarm bells around the country. And for the record, the contraceptives mandated as “preventive services” will include abortifacients.

Critics charge that this is an attack on the cornerstone First Amendment freedom that is the very foundation of our democracy. It is. Others assert that it threatens a violation of conscience for millions of Americans. It does. And still others insist it will force an unprecedented choice for many employers to either subsidize what they believe to be immoral, or withdraw health care coverage for their own families and those of their employees. It will.

If memory serves, the hierarchy of the Catholic Church throughout the U.S. enthusiastically supported the concept of Obamacare when it was first announced – and understandably so: in general, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops tends to be very liberal in matters of politics and economics, blissfully unaware that Jesus of Nazareth never preached redistribution of wealth at the barrel of a government gun. Shortsighted political dimwits that most of them are (and I don’t hesitate to toss the Holy Father into the mix), they happily follow Thomas More’s yellow brick road to Utopia, where everyone eats angel food cake and farts perfume just as surely as a centralized government bureaucracy administers health care with the tenderness of Mother Theresa, the diligence of Clara Barton and the selflessness of Albert Schweitzer.

Apparently, these ostensibly learned prelates skipped school on the day the instructor explained that you can’t have Falstaff and have him thin. For those who have never read or seen Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Falstaff was a character who served as a sort of comic foil to Prince Harry. The prince was young, athletic and gallant; Falstaff was old, fat and boorish. It would have been nice were Falstaff younger and more rakish, but Harry enjoyed his company anyway until the time came to throw the fat man under the bus – which in the 15th century would have been a horse-drawn wagon. Hence the origin of the aphorism: “You can’t have Falstaff and have him thin.

A related aphorism tells us that if you dine with the Devil, be prepared to suffer indigestion afterward. Now the proverbial chickens have come home to roost – and there is chicken poop everywhere, as His Excellency laments:

What other constitutionally protected freedoms might an increasingly powerful federal government revoke? What other mandated violations of conscience lie ahead for other groups of American citizens, in pursuit of what their government declares is in the common interest? For whom doth the bell toll next?

There are many reasons to decry this HHS mandate. But perhaps the most important reason is that it is simply un-American.

Ah. I see. Just one question, Your Excellency: where the hell were YOU when the Tea Party movement marched against this abomination in 2009?

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