2013-08-01 – A peculiar campaign by FreedomWorks to oppose the implementation of Obamacare calls on opponents to burn their Obamacare cards. Problem is, as many pundits have pointed out, there is no such thing as an Obamacare card. To solve this problem, FreedomWorks has designed its own Obamacare card for protestors to print and then burn.
This campaign is meant to recall protests of the selective service draft during the Vietnam War in which young men intending to resists service burned their draft cards.
Two differences between today’s protest and the anti-draft protest come to mind:
1. The draft of the 1960s sent young men to war to possibly die for a cause they didn’t believe in. Obamacare of 2014 threatens to provide young men and women with affordable health care.
2. Burning your draft card in the 1960s was a felony. (The Supreme Court ruled that imposition of criminal penalties on the burning of a draft card did not violate the first amendment guarantee of free speech. United States v. O’Brien.) Burning an Obamacare card carries no penalty whatsoever.
Young men who resisted the draft in the 1960s undertook considerable risk to voice their protest. Flakes who burn Obamacare cards only risk burning themselves. (But be careful. You don’t want to have to go to the hospital without health insurance.)
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Back in the spring of 1970 protests against the War in Vietnam swept college campuses. On many of the campuses, students torched ROTC building. At my college, the University of Chicago, there was no ROTC building. So a campus organization began collecting scrap wood to “build” an ROTC building so it could later be torched. The organization was a spoof group called Students for Violent Non-Action.