As the nation continues to debate the health care reform bill, now the law of the land, it is interesting to recall one of the more curious aspects of the legislation. During the debate as Democrats rallied votes within their own party to pass the bill, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made the strange claim that in order to know what was in the bill we'd have to pass the bill. Now that the bill is passed, people are working their way through its massive number of pages to find out everything that it entails.
As I thought about this over the last few days it reminded me of a Twilight Zone episode, "To Serve Man." I'm not alone in making this connection, as illustrated by Gary Toms, an African-American writer:
On New Year's Day, the popular channel ran its Twilight Zone marathon. As I sat in front of my television, in complete awe of how Serling used his creative genius to address many social and cultural issues, I began to realize the episode I was watching was chillingly similar to a current event in American politics: the meteoric rise of Senator Barack Obama. The episode was entitled "To Serve Man", and it featured an alien, Kanamit, that came to Earth to convince humans that a far better life, a far better place, awaited them based on the futuristic content of a book called To Serve Man. All they had to do was place their faith in him and not fear the unknown. The alien, who seemingly appeared out of nowhere, began to win them over through powerful speeches, immediately solving all the problems of the world, and his heartfelt pledge to serve man. Ultimately, despite his strange and unearthly appearance, the inhabitants of Earth became loyal followers and boarded hordes of spaceships for what they believe is The Promised Land. It is at this point when the awful and terrifying truth is revealed. A man, who was extremely skeptical of the claims being made by the alien, breaks the book's code and frantically tries to warn the people boarding that the title of the book, To Serve Man, is actually.....a cookbook!
The video clip below is "To Serve Man," and it is a perfect fit with this issue. As you click on it you will see that the Kanamits promise to cure all of humanity's woes, and all they ask is that they be trusted. The response of humanity is to think of their new situation as Christmas, precisely the way a gentleman quoted in the media recently described his situation as a new Obamacare recipient.
As we continue to probe the depths of the mysterious health care legislation, one piece of proposed hope and change for all that ails us, let us hope that we don't discover that it is a mysterious cookbook with us on the menu. Perhaps Serling's moral for this story is beware of aliens, and politicians, promising utopia.