March 6. Two weeks ago. Does the date stand out in your mind? It should.
On that day President Donald Trump signed his second travel ban, denying visas to residents of six predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days and barring all refugees for four months.
The order was called "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States." The administration argued for its necessity using words related to protection: security, safety, risk. "We cannot risk the prospect of malevolent actors using our immigration system to take American lives," said Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly.
Also on that day — the same day — Republicans offered up their plan to dismember Obamacare.
No one spoke of protection or risk. Instead, Obamacare was being dismantled in the name of . . . what's that word Paul Ryan kept using? Right, "access." If the government stopped blazing a route to insurance, Americans would be free to wander into the marketplace and buy whatever insurance they like, the sky's the limit, provided they can pay for it — which many can't.
So one measure, the travel ban, is being taken to protect American lives. The other, to give them access to options.
But what if we took those two values and swapped them? Apply concern for access to the travel ban, and security to Obamacare. What would that teach us?
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