This was an extensive and magnificent structure, the creation of the prince’s own eccentric yet august taste. A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. This wall had gates of iron. The courtiers, having entered, brought furnaces and massy hammers and welded the bolts. They resolved to leave means neither of ingress nor egress to the sudden impulses of despair or of frenzy from within. The abbey was amply provisioned. With such precautions the courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure.
—The Masque of the Red Death, Edgar Allan Poe
They had a party in Washington on Thursday. They had a party in the Capitol and then they all got into nice shiny buses to roll through the tall gates of the White House to have a party there. This was an afternoon to celebrate, and these folks were going to celebrate with their President* of the United States.
They had a party in Washington on Thursday to celebrate the fact 24 million people would be made free by losing the healthcare that has made their lives easier since 2009. This was a thing to celebrate.
They had a party in Washington to celebrate that people with diabetes, or a genetic disposition to Parkinson’s, or a congenital heart defect, would be made free because their insurance rates would be subject to the kind ministrations of Republican governors like Sam Brownback, or Republican state legislatures like the one presently sitting in the newly insane state of North Carolina. This was a thing to celebrate.
They had a party in Washington to celebrate that an $8 billion risk-pool fig leaf was enough to drain the guts out of Republican “moderates” in the House and get them on board. This was a thing to celebrate.
They had a party in Washington to celebrate that freedom was served because Medicaid took a serious shot below the waterline. This was a thing to celebrate.
They had a party in Washington to celebrate that one state—Mississippi? Kansas?—could bring freedom by restoring lifetime limits on employer-based healthcare coverage for 129 million Americans. This was a thing to celebrate.
They had a party in Washington to celebrate the fact that taking healthcare from poor people was enough to give the top two percent of Americans a trillion-dollar tax cut. This was a thing to celebrate.
They had a party in Washington to celebrate the fact that sexual assault can now be considered a preexisting condition. This was a thing to celebrate.
Goddamn them all. Goddamn the political movement that spawned them and goddamn the political party in which that movement found a home, and goddamn the infrastructure in which their pus-bag of an ideology was allowed to fester until it splattered the plague all over the government. Goddamn anyone who believes that blind, genetic luck is a demonstration of divine design. Goddamn anyone who believes in a god who hands out disease as punishment. Goddamn anyone who stays behind the walls and dances while the plague comes back again.
And if the Democratic Party can’t reduce these idiots to smoking ash through the stunning visuals that greeted this atrocious vote, then goddamn the Democratic Party, too.
I can’t deal with the politics now, though. This was a bill constructed to be as cruel as possible to as many people as possible for the benefit of the wealthiest Americans and to give a “win” to an incompetent and vulgar talking yam that flukes and circumstance have placed at the head of a once-great republic. It is an altogether remarkable piece of American political history that should follow the people celebrating it to their graves, to which they will be proceeded by thousands of their fellow citizens, who might not have, had there not been so much to celebrate on Thursday, in Washington, among all the tomb-white monuments.
We will remember who voted for this. We will make them remember. Even if it goes down in defeat in the Senate, we will remember. And we will come after them.
Bonus track: Bette Davis in The Little Foxes.