Last November, I noted that Obama’s election didn’t mean we could rest and congratulate ourselves. We did, of course, relaxing after an intense election season and acting as though party control of two branches of Congress was going to get us what we wanted and had been promised.
This doesn’t even work for Republicans, who move in much greater lock step. I mean, where is that anti-abortion Constitutional amendment anyway?
Waiting and wanting isn’t enough when what we want conflicts with the desires of lobbyists, who don’t take a break after an election. To give you a sense of the power opposing health care reform, four of the Fortune 100 (the largest 100 companies in the U.S.) are health insurance companies, with a combined 2008 revenue over 200 billion dollars.
It certainly isn’t enough when other forces remain organized and funded and are willing to use all the fear and hatred they can find to support their cause. It isn’t enough when the press repeatedly lies and distorts to tell our elected representatives that we don’t want health care reform.
This is actually a tougher fight than the election was. Corporations far and away recognized that four more years of rule by the monster that the Republican Party had become would be as disastrous for them as it would be for all of us. They were pragmatic in their understand that business cannot flourish anywhere the government doesn’t meet at least its minimal obligations in law and the maintenance of infrastructure, so they supported Obama.
They are not supporting health care reform, which means we need to do more. Their disproportionate influence isn’t all arrayed against us, but neither is it on our side. We’re much more alone this time.
That doesn’t matter, though. We have enough. Remember back to the last days before the election. Remember, if you were calling or door-knocking, how many times the people you talked to had just talked to someone else? If you weren’t volunteering, remember the flood of people nudging you toward the polls? We were annoying, but we got this done.
We have the resources to push through health care reform, too. We have a sitting president and a large-enough majority in Congress. No grassroots activists suddenly decided that the status quo was good enough. We are all the same people and in a considerably better situation. All we have to do is find the passion again to do what must be done.
And what is that? Well, it’s not as hard as you might think.
Start with your congresscritters, senators and representatives. They’re easy to find and contact. Do the same for the President. Tell them you vote and that this issue is important to you. Tell them you want single-payer health care, but you’re willing to compromise with a public option if they’ll move quickly. If they’re Democrats, tell them the success of the party rides on them being able to come together on a big issue like this. If they’re Republicans, tell them they’ll be held responsible for the lies and intimidation if they do nothing to fight them.
Then ask what else you can do. If you have a health care nightmare story, offer to share it. (My representative, Keith Ellison, is collecting stories.) Find out whether there are events or calls you should participate in. Crowds matter in convincing the people who won’t do the research needed to make up their minds on issues.
Speaking of crowds, talk to the people around you. Chances are good that they’re unsure about the bad information they’re getting, grandpa doesn’t know his health care is single-payer or your neighbor is unaware that people in Britain are very happy with their health care. Share the truth with them, both the common arguments and those targeted at specific populations.
Tell other people that you’ve contacted people in the government to remind them that they represent you on this matter. Tell people what you told your representatives and encourage them to do the same. Tell them when you’re going to rally or ask questions at an open forum or make calls to raise support and awareness. Remind them that democracy isn’t something that happens every two, four or six years.
Most of all, remind yourself that. Health care reform is a huge issue, but it isn’t the only one we face right now. It isn’t the only reason we worked so hard to elect Obama. One of those reasons is that he wasn’t afraid to call us to service.
Now it’s time to answer. What are you doing?
This entry was posted on Sunday, August 23rd, 2009 at 9:42 pm and is filed under Politics, Stephanie Zvan. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.