Monday, October 5, 2009

As It Should Be

There's a lot of disappointment and outright snark that SuperObama hasn't trained his unstoppable firevision on the evil hordes that have delayed public option legislation for so long:
Sold us out. Obviously holding back the ultra-falcon-punch maneuver that could have ended this debate long ago. And maybe that's true -- maybe he's an alien exile, biding his time to see whether or not humanity is worthy of his advanced technology. People who believe this are probably really heartened by the news that he's quietly trying to shore up support for a public option. They might say, here it comes! The part where a million lobbyists surround him and he wrecks them all with nunchucks or maybe a Klingon Bat'leth.

I'm heartened, too, but not because I spend much time paying attention to the president's temperature on the public option. I'm heartened because I see lines like this in the article above: a closed-door meeting of Senate Democrats on Tuesday, Assistant Majority Leader Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) marshaled polling data from districts represented by conservative Democrats that showed a majority would back the requirement that Americans get health insurance so long as there was a public option.

"To argue that this is some fringe position is to ignore the obvious," Durbin said.
That's us represented there -- not swept up in the wake of a charismatic politician or a wave election, not knee-jerk motion towards Democrats because George W. Bush was a bad president and the economy went sour, but people reading the newspaper and deciding that this policy is good for them and their children, and supporting it.

We're the only part of the political process that can't be bought outright -- we are the only part of this debate that isn't worried about re-election, or donations, or finding a golden parachute in private industry. This is why FreedomWorks tried to falsely inflate the numbers of people who attended the 9/12 rally -- it's why town hall opponents tried to yell over the voices of others, and why opponents of reform generally want to look like 'regular people' and not an amalgamation of strong party supporters, industry beneficiaries, and ideological extremists. Because we, and by that I mean we the people, have the promise of the Constitution that the policies that we want will become law.

And what we want is cheaper, less exploitative health insurance for more people. Of the many programs that have been proposed, it is the strong public option that puts people over profit and respects the American tradition of private industry. We know -- the mortgage crisis and Bear Stearns/AIG/Fannie/Freddie taught us -- that unregulated industry can literally destroy itself, and we're the ones that end up suffering when that happens. Any crucial industry, and there are few more crucial than health-related industry, has to be carefully balanced into our national community.

This will only be brought about through citizen action: that's as it should be. We wouldn't want something as important as this to be dictated from Washington.

All this is to say -- keep up the pressure. Google your Senators and put in four calls -- two for each, one at the national office, and one at the nearest local office. If they have an office in your town, stop by and tell them what you care about and what you expect from your representatives.

I'll do the same, and somehow try to encourage constituents from Arkansas to visit the blog. I've got a dozen hits from Turkey, and one last night from Japan, but no Arkansas so far -- and people from Japan can't pressure Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) to get her head right.

EDIT: This great article ably underlines the point that it's not just whether we get a public option, but how strong that public option is -- which is a great point to make when you're talking to your representative. The best public option is one that anyone can choose, as well as one that has significant license to negotiate prices with providers.

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