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?

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11 Responses to “Reorganization”

  1. August 24th, 2009 at 6:32 am

    Jason Thibeault says:

    I wish I could do more. Best I can do is to remind people that Canadians already have single payer, and with the exception of a few minor horror stories in Ontario (each province has a slightly different flavour of Single Payer), and a shortage of doctors/nurses in NS (due to brain drain toward the West, where we have oil), for most of Canada it is everything it is cracked up to be.

    It is not perfect, but it is fantastic. Even despite its flaws. Any comparison between the American health care system and the Canadian one is where you look at a slightly imperfect diamond north of the border, and compare it to your own perfectly formed lump of coal. Which someone then takes away from you.

    Please, please fight for this. All of you. Anyone reading this who can do anything about it, you deserve better then ignominious death at the hands of unscrupulous insurance bureaucrats who decide it’s too costly to keep you healthy. Murder by spreadsheet is most certainly not the hallmark of the “greatest health care in the world”, so please, I implore you, do something about this grievous situation before you get hit yourselves.

  2. August 24th, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Dan J says:

    I wrote and told my Representative in no uncertain terms that he is beholden to me, not to the health care industry. I also made it very clear that without health care reform, more people will lose health care that they already have, and more people will needlessly die. People like me will hold him and the rest of the Congress-critters personally responsible for those deaths. i made sure he knew that people like me will let the rest of the world know, via blogs and news sites, exactly what our representatives in Washington are doing to help or hurt health care reform.

    I get so f’ing sick and tired of all of our rep’s in Washington. Every time I vote it’s for the lesser of a group of evils. Every… single… time. I don’t actually trust a single one of them. Isn’t that pathetic?

  3. August 24th, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    D. C. Sessions says:

    Meanwhile, I live in Arizona. “My” representatives are John McCain, John Kyl, and John Shadegg. No jokes about prostitution, please.

    I’m voting with my feet and moving to New Mexico, where the Congressional staff have been gracious enough to welcome a potential political refugee.

  4. August 24th, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Blaine says:

    I’m right there with ya, D.C. I love the southwest, but the siren call of the northeast is becoming harder to block out. I have written everyone I can and talked to all of the people around me. Doesn’t seem to help much, but I am trying.

  5. August 24th, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Mike H says:

    My friends and I have taken days off to protest down by our local rep’s office. She is a newly elected democrat and if she votes for Obama care, we are going to string her up next elections.

    Thankfully, she has come out and said she wouldn’t vote for anything with a public option. With that opening we are going to push her against the rest of Obamacare and Cap and Trade.

  6. August 24th, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    a daughter's mother says:

    You asked where the anti-abortion constitutional amendment was? The Republicans – the ones in power, anyway – don’t really want one. After all,if they got that, how would they rouse their base? They did a very scary job of getting pretty much everything else they wanted, whether legally or just claiming it was legal BECAUSE they went ahead and did it. They might have called it signing statements, or had a staffer add it to the end of a very long bill after it came out of conference committee when nobody was really looking, or holding a vote open for hours until they browbeat and blackmailed their members into voting the “right” way. Or they just scared everybody into thinking they wanted whatever it was in the name of patriotism and national security. They had all the power they needed and took the rest.

    Now that “we’ are in power, we need to exercise it, but legally this time, and loudly, and without letting up. We can’t stop with our own representatives, but have to call the others and help drown out the noise machine. Winning an election should have consequences. Failing to act according to the wishes of the vast majority should have even deeper and broader consequences. WE have to keep reminding Washington of that.

    Health care delayed is health care denied. How many of us need to go bankrupt after a single health event before Congress acts? How many of us need to DIE before Congress acts? Ask them. Then call and ask them again. Then call the White House and remind our President that standing behind Republicans, bending over and kissing their rosy behinds is NOT A LEADERSHIP POSITION!

  7. August 24th, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    Mike Haubrich says:

    Mike H – I hope you never get sick and then later turned down for coverage by an insurance company for pre-existing conditions. I hope that when you are older your family knows what to do in case you are in an end-of-life situation but you never specified what you wanted through an advanced-care-directive (which most Republicans favored Medicare pay for until they saw the light of hysteria and backed away from like it was a rattlesnake.) I hope you never get severe burns that require extended hospitalization but are sent home because your insurance company says that would be too expensive.

    I hope that none of that ever happens to you. But if it does, don’t complain to me about it.

    May your premiums grow while your coverage shrinks.

  8. August 24th, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Dan J says:

    I’m going to cross-post what I said over at Greg’s place, just for a bit of completeness, and for the edification of those of you who don’t frequent places where those of us who are “poor” tend to hang around.

    I work for an idiot who can’t seem to run a company unless it’s “into the ground”. I have no health insurance. It went by the wayside when the owner decided he couldn’t afford it any more. I don’t think he’s paid the payroll taxes he’s been deducting for quite some time. Retirement benefits? Yeah, right. I’m lucky if I can afford to pay for my utilities and get new glasses this month. The glasses may have to wait a bit longer.

    Health insurance simply isn’t an option for me right now. If I had a spare $500 a month lying around it would go to pay some other bills first. I’ve been to see a physician twice in the last ten years. One of those times was work-related, so I had no out of pocket costs.

    I’m not the only one in this kind of situation. I have no fucking health care options. I make too much to get state assistance, yet not enough to actually afford health care on my own. What the fuck am I supposed to do? Oh, yeah, go ahead and die earlier so someone else can collect the money I’ve paid in to social security.

    Fuck Corporate America.

    Yes, Mike H, may your premiums continue to grow as your insurance company grows wealthier and your level of care plummets. I don’t wish it on you, but you seem to be doing a damn good job of wishing it on everyone else. Fuck the insurance companies. Do any of you out there actually think that the insurance companies give a shit about you or the care you receive? They care about their profit margin. End of story.

  9. August 24th, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    Dan J says:

    And just in case you think the insurance companies don’t want to see any reform at all, think again. They want to see reform all right, but only if it benefits their bottom line: Healthcare insurers get upper hand: Obama’s overhaul fight is being won by the industry, experts say. The end result may be a financial ‘bonanza.’.

  10. August 25th, 2009 at 12:48 am

    Mike Haubrich says:

    Isn’t it just wonderful the way that they manipulated this? If this is what passes, then a better way to get insurance is to buy stock in the health insurance companies and cash in when you need to go to the doctor. Their profits are going to go through the roof while the anti-socialist “insured” go, basically uninsured.

  11. August 25th, 2009 at 6:36 am

    a daughter's mother says:

    to Mike H:

    You’re going to string up your representative if she doesn’t vote against public option health care? Just how stupid are you? First, you think you’ll have a reception for those ideas on a liberal blog? Second, that’s a threat against a public official, and the folks running this blog know who you really are. I hope they’ll pass along your threat to the FBI. You are not just an idiot, but a dangerous idiot. The real irony is that if you end up where you really belong, which is in prison, you’ll actually have – wait for it – health care!

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