Editor: If I had any inclination for pessimism, the recent machinations in the Senate as we inched toward the prospect of offering health care to 30 million more Americans would have thrown me into a downward spin. As one who believes in hope, I can’t help but think that the “Party of No” is corrupting the very system that strives to promote liberty and justice for all.
It is hard me to accept that 40 of our most esteemed champions of democracy are voluntarily in lock-step agreement to deny health care to more than 30 million Americans. Were they coerced? Were they duped by the brilliantly crafted propaganda campaign against health care reform — with its mantras, its epithets, its smugness and its frightening persistence?
Do all 40 senators really believe that the American people, particularly the 30 million without health care, are opposed to health care reform?
Do they believe that it is wrong, morally and legally — that it is unnecessary and unaffordable for all citizens to have the right to health care in the oldest and richest democracy in the world?
I am loath to demonize the group of 40 but their actions and their spokespeople, the chronically outraged and outrageous talk show hosts who have become, at least symbolically, the leaders of the Republican Party, frighten me. I have never before felt intimidated by the rhetoric of a party I don’t agree with — but I am now. There is a do-or-die tone in their pronouncements that is terrifying.
I’m not asking for lock-step agreement on the bill, which even its proponents don’t claim — but I do ask us Americans to do the right thing and move us into the realm of health care as the inalienable right of citizens — a right that has been granted in all other developed nations many years ago. If war isn’t too expensive for us, why is health care for all?
I hope that in the coming weeks the propagandists of no (health care) will tone down their rhetoric, but I am not optimistic. It is we citizens who must assume the responsibility of saying yes to this ground-breaking piece of legislation that moves us closer to being the nation that our founders envisioned.
January 3, 2010