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The Obamacare Fight: An Emblem of Civility

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The House of Representatives has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act 37 times since it was passed just over three years ago. Republican lobbyists have spent an obscene amount of money trying to change the public's perception of the law. And Republican governors in states throughout the U.S. have decided to opt out of the exchange program at the center of Obamacare, which is designed to provide consumers with as wide a variety of healthcare options as possible. But nonetheless, in America, when we elect representatives and they pass a law, that law goes into place until new leadership that wants to repeal the law is elected. That is how the constitution designed our legislative process. That is how a democratic-republic works. And so, no matter how much money is spent opposing it, how many times the House votes to repeal it, or how divided America is on its impending consequences, the Affordable Care Act will be implemented next year. And our ability to coexist as Republicans and Democrats -- our pluralism -- will stay in tact.

In Egypt, nobody bothered to vote 37 times to boot Mohammed Morsi from power. Instead, 20-30,000 of Egypt's citizens gathered on the streets to protest Morsi's authoritarian rule. Yes, he was democratically elected, they argued, but his refusal to delegate power to others and his obdurate dedication to enacting radical, religious-based laws (those that persecuted women, promoted anti-Semitism, etc.) warranted his removal from power. When Morsi refused to answer the cries of his constituents, Egypt's army stripped him of his title. That is not how a democratic-republic works. Right now, in Egypt, Morsi's opposition and his supporters are clashing in the streets, and all-out chaos has broken out -- Egypt does not have pluralism.

Does that necessarily mean the army was wrong to unseat Morsi? I don't know, and neither does anyone else who claims to. But what I do know is that, with Morsi out of power, there is a concrete step Egypt's leaders can take to restore some semblance of order to their country: order an election to determine the country's president.

Congress' battles over Obamacare, the unimaginable amount of money spent by organizations on both sides of the isle to shape the public's perception of the law, and the media's attempts to form a "narrative" around the success of the law have come to represent what is so broken about America's political process. But when looking at Egypt, it becomes clear that our fight over Obamacare demonstrates what makes our political system so special. In America, we are all (meaning "those of us who are over 17," of course) given the opportunity to not only speak out against the government, but vote those who make laws we disagree with out of power.

When immersed in the 24-hour news cycle, it's hard to believe in American exceptionalism. But when juxtaposed with the violent protests in Egypt, the House GOP's protest votes to repeal Obamacare look fairly civil. And the fact that American citizens were able to vote the Democratic congressman who passed Obamacare out of power is equally remarkable, even if, like me, you think Obamacare is a piece of legislation with tremendous potential. Are these votes frustrating? Yes. Are they representative of the unwillingness of Congress to pass any legislation whatsoever? Yes. But is the right to fight against laws like Obamacare and have our voices heard through elections why our system of democracy has survived for so long and our country is still so successful (regardless of whether or not we elect competent congressmen)? Absolutely. And wouldn't it be great if Egypt's citizens could also nonviolently fillibuster, stall, and threaten to repeal legislation like we do?