Green Eggs And Obamacare

Yesterday Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican, took to the Senate floor for an extended period in his effort to avoid funding for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.  In a filibuster-type move, Cruz read Dr. Seuss’ classic Green Eggs and Ham into the Congressional Record.

We all remember Green Eggs and Ham.  It featured some poor, benighted soul who claimed to hate green eggs and ham being badgered relentlessly by Sam I Am until he finally tried the dish . . . and found to his surprise that he liked it.  Of course, that part of the story doesn’t fit into the Republican story line.  They would end the story, instead, by saying that the country has tried Obamacare as various provisions have rolled out over the past few years and has decided — Uncle Sam I Am’s hectoring notwithstanding — that they really don’t want the Affordable Care Act.

In any case, it’s easy to see the diehard Republican opposition to Obamacare stated in the cadence of Green Eggs and Ham:

We do not like it on a stair.

We do not like it in the air.

We do not like Obamacare.

We do not like it anywhere!

On Green Eggs And Ham And The Pleasures Of Reading Aloud To Your Kids

Fifty years ago, on August 12, 1960, Green Eggs and Ham was published.  The simple story of the annoyingly persistent Sam-I-am and his put-upon friend who finally caves in and tries green eggs and ham, it uses only 50 words.  Nevertheless, it has become one of the most popular children’s books ever.  It has sold more than 200 million copies.

Hearing about the 50th birthday of Green Eggs and Ham made me think of reading aloud to the boys when they were little — and how much I miss doing that.  Green Eggs and Ham is a great book to read aloud.  The reader can impersonate the voices of the two actors, the pictures are funny, and the text has a wonderful read-aloud rhythm that nevertheless allows you to add your own inflection and emphasis.  (“That Sam-I-am!  That Sam-I-am!!!  I do not LIKE that Sam-I-Am!” is how I read it.)  And, of course, the book teaches a good lesson:  namely, you might as well try something, because you just might like it — and the unpleasant alternative is to be relentlessly browbeaten by the likes of Sam-I-am.

Any parent who doesn’t read books aloud to their kids is missing out on something that is wonderful and timeless.  Those 200 million copies of Green Eggs and Ham made readers’ and listeners’ lives more fun and brought many parents and children a bit closer together.  The 50th birthday of Green Eggs and Ham is one worth celebrating.