Warning: Minor spoilers ahead. Turn back now if you haven’t seen “Rogue One,” or enjoy the following gif of Darth Vader breaking it down. Either way, go no further if you don’t want (part) of the plot ruined.
Before congressional Republicans take office next month and engage in one of the most brutal legislative fight in years, they need to see the latest Star Wars movie. No, really.
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is the film that diehard fans have been waiting for ever since pre-production rumors of the “Phantom Menace” began. Nods to the original trilogy (if not always subtle) never feel forced, and the fast-paced flow of the storyline seamlessly covers the tragic childhood of Jyn Erso (played by a tenacious Felicity Jones) all the way to her rise to mythic heroism in its entirety.
That said, one scene in Rogue One offers a teaching narrative for what will likely be the biggest and most contentious public policy fight of the coming season.
In true Star Wars fashion, toward the end of the film’s second act, all seems lost. Confronted with news of the Empire’s devastating new weapon — a planet-killing “Death Star” — some members of the Rebel Alliance balk at the thought of even putting up a fight against the Empire.
Up to this point, you see, the Rebellion has worked from the shadows. The members of the Imperial Senate aid the Rebellion’s cloak-and-dagger operations, but they are not fully invested in the Rebellion’s cause. They are not ready to declare open war.
These senators quiver at the full realization of the Empire’s power. They argue that there is simply nothing to be gained in risking such likely destruction. The costs are too high. Better to just pack it up, go home, beat your X-wings into vaporators and die of old age under tyranny, right?
Those with the will to fight, on the other hand, argue that the means of destroying this new weapon are within reach — that the Rebellion can finally strike a devastating blow and substantially weaken the Empire’s hold on the galaxy. The cost of giving up, after all, is permitting the Empire to hold trillions of lives hostage to its wicked, iron will.
If now, at this moment, they choose not to fight — if they choose surrender, if they resign themselves to slavery — what was the Rebellion for?
What it took in the end was Rogue One — a scrappy, indefatigable band of believers willing to buck conventional wisdom and with the courage to take on a mission they know will likely cost them everything. We all know how the rest of the story goes (the plans get to Princess Leia of Alderaan, and Jedi-to-be Luke Skywalker fires the lethal shot to reduce the Death Star to space junk).
Now at present, in a galaxy not so far away, similar doubts arise over fighting a different kind of destructive, shackling behemoth: Obamacare.
Republican politicians who have railed against President Obama’s signature policy (failure) since its passage, and the hardworking Americans now struggling under the weight of massive rate hikes and collapsing coverage, finally have their chance to take it off the books for good. It seems, however, that not a news cycle goes by without another story of the GOP’s looming capitulation.
And let’s be real about exactly what the Rebel Alliance — err … Republicans — are up against here. The Affordable Care Act was ostensibly designed to provide good and affordable health insurance to those without.
The ACA legislation attempted to achieve that goal by unconstitutionally forcing the American people to purchase health insurance, thereby endowing the government with the power to compel individuals to purchase a good or service. This government takeover of the health insurance marketplace, though, has driven up insurance costs, driven up health care costs, driven up drug prices, limited access to doctors, forced nuns (and so, so many others) to violate their religious conscience.
In other words, it has utterly failed to provide affordable health care and has instead placed a form of soft tyranny upon the American people.
If the Rebel Alliance’s goal was to defeat the Death Star and save the galaxy from a destructive, almost-omnipotent leviathan, then the necessary course of action would be to steal the plans and blow it up. Likewise, if the mandate is to repeal and replace a leviathan piece of legislation with the demonstrated ability to wreck the health care industry (as well as the wallets and consciences of the American people), then the way to repeal it (as Robert Tracinski puts it at The Federalist) is to … repeal it.
The American people put Republicans in power to repeal Obamacare fully. Now the people’s representatives have the means to do so. What they require is the will to go to war.
So to every Republican member of Congress — and every staffer thereof — who relentlessly campaigned on “repealing and replacing” Obamacare through the better part of this decade, especially those who now find themselves weak in the knees of actually following through on the mandate and will of the people: