I’m often accused of tilting at windmills, particularly as the health care reform debate heats up. It’s not a wild accusation; I refuse to surrender to cynicism. I still believe, just as I did growing up and as I have throughout my various intersections with politics, that politicians still hear and heed the voice of the people when they speak loudly and with one voice. Sadly, many people have allowed themselves to be browbeaten into a cynical silence out of disappointment or anger with one side or the other.
If we learned nothing from last year, I’d hope we at least learned that outcomes are not pre-planned, that underdogs can win, and our votes count. In this health care reform debate, we can let the Caremarks and Aetnas win, or we can speak up for our own interests. I’ve chosen the latter.
The next two weeks are critical. The closer we get to real reform, the louder and more shrill the opposition will become. Since the introduction of the House bill, which has some very real and meaningful reforms, the press has been complicit in perpetuating lies, GOP talking points, and accelerating the sale of scary music so that we, the people who stand to benefit and possibly even get ahead for a change, will believe that changing the system is bad for us.
The noise is going to get even louder. Don’t be fooled by it — health care reform challenges one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington. They’re spending millions every day to defeat it. That should say something to you. Call your representatives. Tell them to stand for you, not the lobbyists. I’ve read all 1,018 pages of the bill. It is a remarkable piece of legislation. Not perfect, but certainly a giant step toward progress.
I’m going to keep tilting. I hope you’ll join me, and make a difference.