A year and a half ago, you asked me to choose which Presidential candidate MoveOn, as an organization representative of my beliefs, should support and promote. I chose Barack Obama, as did many other MoveOn members. So many, in fact, that he received your endorsement for the Presidency; support which undoubtedly had a significant influence on the election results of 2008. Barack Obama is now President, thanks to our hard work.
And the country has yet to see the Change and Hope upon which he based his platform.
This is all the more disturbing considering the Democratic majority in Congress. Now that they have a so-called “super majority“, one would think that meaningful reform would be ushered immediately and gracefully onto the floor. But this has not happened, and according to any intelligent reading of the reports from Congress, it’s not about to happen. Despite their ability to enact real change which would have a significant impact on the American people…Congress is not inclined. It’s easy to say compromise is important, but when you have offered extensive compromise and your opponent says “Not good enough!”, it is time to walk away and carve a path on your own. Democrats do not need to compromise to enact health care reform, alternative energy research, net neutrality, or any other goal they strive to achieve…all they have to do is vote for it. Their reluctance to do so speaks volumes about their loyalties and their fears.
It is understandable, given the results of the last Democratic attempt to implement health care reform(1), that they would be cautious now. Recent polls(2), however, make it clear that the majority of American people want universal health care. It is traditional to try to ease in change, rather than rush it forward before a majority of the people understand the necessity. Immediate and goal-oriented action, however, is required if the United States is not only to survive, but to prosper, during the coming energy crisis. A belief in the efficacy of “trickle down” economics(3) has driven most Americans into debt and dishonor(4), and the very idea that Internet providers have a right to choose the future of ideas based on ability to pay is a demonstration of where such backward thinking has brought us. Congress can change the future, any time they wish. They just choose not to.
I am writing to you, then, MoveOn, to ask you to do what you do best: tell people their hopes and dreams are on the line, and it is up to them to make sure their elected representatives actually represent. If we want universal health care, we are going to have to demand it, louder than all the corporate interests and “Socialism Sucks!” naysayers who are making them wonder about the longevity of their appointment. If they supported the bill which makes the difference between life and death for the children of hard working, low income American families…they will be reelected, with or without the help of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries. If we want clean energy and energy independence, we are going to have to write them, call them, show up at their offices with statements, arguments, and petitions until they realize that voting for funding which leads to less pollution, more financial security, and higher employment rates will get them reelected even without the support of fossil fuel dependent corporations which are desperately trying to cling to the pipe dreams of their youth. We can insist upon Net Neutrality, so that the Internet remains a place where every idea has a chance of being heard. For that matter, we can go further and ensure equal rights for homosexuals, abolish no-victim crimes, and end a few unnecessary military engagements. We can release some innocent men from Guantanamo, ditch the Patriot Act, and make sure that no President can ever, ever again take such unwarranted liberties with our Constitution as the last one did(5). Just this once, we don’t have to compromise. We can make change happen.
And we must, because time is disappearing beneath us. If the current administration, the current Congress, continue to do nothing for the next year, we will lose the power to enact the changes we so desperately need. The Democratic majority will be lost in the next mid-term election, the Presidency two years after that. While action may risk failure, inaction guarantees it.
So please, use your influence, your ability to pull people together, to remind us all that our work is not even half done. We have one good chance, right now, to change our lives for the better. Please don’t let it slip away.
(1) Yes, I just referenced Wikipedia. Because it’s often accurate. And when it’s not, it is at least more amusing than Fox News.
(2) Just gotta mention this part While seventy three percent of Democrats favor a tax increase to fund coverage, only twenty-nine percent of Republicans back such a move. Seriously, guys, this makes you look like a bunch of assholes. I know you probably have your reasons…but you probably need someone saner than Glen Beck to try to vouch for you at this point.
(3) One of the weirdest things that has happened in my lifetime is the idolization of Reagan. I know this is likely to get me crucified, but seriously people…he was a pathetic actor, and his Presidential highlights were largely based around watching Nancy throw her voice to cover his increasingly slurred/sugar-high gibberings. He was never, ever a “great” President. Get over it.
(4) New Appalachian farewell blessing: “May the wind be always at your back, and the repo man always under your heel…”
(5) Want to argue that point? Be my guest…