OK, I get that there are people who are upset about the Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). I imagine there are reasonable, well-informed people who are disappointed by the decision. And in their disappointment and even anger they are trying to make sense out of the fact that a conservative justice like John Roberts not only upheld the ACA, but authored the majority opinion for it. But then there are some who are so full of anger that they’re not being reasonable: they’re willing to take a cheap shot at Roberts and blame his actions on his disability.
I’m not going to support the particular talk radio personality who started this slander by linking to his words, but you can do a quick search to find the comments at issue. In short, this radio host can’t imagine how someone like Roberts could possibly come to the decision that he did, so of course the only logical conclusion is that he must be mentally impaired in some way. So the host latches on to the fact that Roberts has a history of epileptic seizures, and says that the justice must be so doped up on anti-convulsant medication and that explains how he came up with such a wrong-headed decision. It must have been the medication making his brain into this liberal mush of mistaken thinking. Of course.
But maybe I’m being uncharitable. Maybe this radio personality really does have a point. I mean look at my own life as an example: I used to have very conservative political and religious beliefs when I was a teenager. I also began having epileptic seizures when I was a teenager, and I started taking anti-convulsant medications. Then I leave the small town I was raised in and start college in a big city, and pretty soon I’m taking women’s studies courses and going to radical protests and pretty much rethinking most of the moral and political beliefs I thought I knew to be true and right. And now 20 odd years and who knows how many milligrams of medication later, I’m so far left that I am morally opposed to capitalism and racism and heterosexism and every other lefty “ism” you can think of, and I believe housing and healthcare and bodily autonomy and clean air and clean water are not just nice things but fundamental human rights.
It must have been the medication.
Or, you know, it may have been the dedicated educators who gave me the tools to think critically about the world, or the many people from different backgrounds and life experiences who helped me question my assumptions about the world, or the religious elders who taught me to use reason and conscience instead of unquestioning obedience when learning how best to live my faith.
I can’t speak for Roberts or the rest of the members of the Court who upheld the ACA, but I imagine they used a similar combination of intellect, reason, and conscience to come to their decision. If only talk radio hosts would hold themselves to a similar standard before they spoke.