And it damn well ought to be. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that quitting is failure. Not quitting, not giving up, not handing it over, that’s a win even when it’s not all the win you hoped it would be.
“We Don’t Quit” is why I keep sending resumes out even when I get no response 90% of the time.
“We Don’t Quit” is why I keep calling my Senators and Congresspeople even though I live in a Republican district where the odds of getting a Yes vote on much of anything is slim to none.
“We Don’t Quit” is why we are somehow able to keep our heads just above water and manage Sticks’ medical bills without putting the house at risk.
“We Don’t Quit” is why I get out of bed and start it all over again even though it feels overwhelming.
If you watched the State of the Union Address and saw the last 10 minutes, you couldn’t help but see that despite the rancor, despite the partisanship, despite the outright disrespect (and yes, I know George Bush was treated badly by Democrats, too)…there was silence in that chamber. Utter silence. No matter what the spin, there should have been shame among that crowd (on both sides of the aisle).
President Obama: (full transcript on MOMocrats)
Those of us in public office can respond to this reality by playing it safe and avoid telling hard truths. We can do what’s necessary to keep our poll numbers high, and get through the next election instead of doing what’s best for the next generation.
But I also know this: if people had made that decision fifty years ago or one hundred years ago or two hundred years ago, we wouldn’t be here tonight. The only reason we are is because generations of Americans were unafraid to do what was hard; to do what was needed even when success was uncertain; to do what it took to keep the dream of this nation alive for their children and grandchildren.
One of my most favorite moments in the speech was during the segment on health care reform:
But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know. Here’s what I ask of Congress, though: Do not walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people.
Single payer advocates, I’d make that appointment with the White House right now. I think he forgot a part of the challenge, though. Because part of bringing a better approach would be not only to bring it, but to get it passed, which is of course why single payer has not advanced.
And of course, this:
We have finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But a new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don’t quit. I don’t quit. Let’s seize this moment – to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more.
I received a predictably snappy reply on Twitter to my affirmation that “we don’t quit” is the theme of his speech, saying “well, he quit on the public option pretty easily.” In the spirit of reconciliation, I offer this: After 100 years of trying, losing a battle to win the war does not indicate surrender. It is a signal to get done what can be done now, and pick up the battle anew when the time is right. Losing the war is quitting. Giving up strategic ground to win the war is wise.
With that in mind, I once again renew my plea to the House: Pass. the. damn. bill.
Here’s an argument for a strategy to pass the bill, then reconciliation for the public option. I think it has some real value.
In the meantime, I don’t plan to quit.
Bonus: EJ Dionne says “Consider the battle joined.“