You ran on a platform of hope and change. You had the audacity to tell us that you were going to bring something fresh and new to Washington. We have heard such promises before. We know that they are usually lies to dupe the public. But we believed in you sir; we needed to believe in you. After eight years of a criminal administration, we craved a leadership who understood us and who really cared. To many of us you seemed to be that leader. On election night we cheered, and after long years of hanging our heads we were finally able to raise them. We were, at last, proud to be Americans.
Perhaps, sir, you still are that man. I hope so. But I confess I have yet to see any real change, and sadly I have not seen much audacity or hope either. Your stimulus bill was too small - you crafted it to win Republican votes - as if bipartisanship is somehow intrinsically good. Despite your repeated claim to be a "fierce advocate" of gay rights, you have done nothing for gay people. Your bank regulations are appallingly weak, your so-called "sweeping" environmental bill is so below what scientists are calling for that it is practically useless, your foreign policy does not differ in substance from your predecessor's, and you have maintained numerous Bush policies regarding secrecy and executive unaccountability. I fail to see the change here sir. Many of us do.
Nevertheless, Mr. President, we all told ourselves that you could only do so much. We knew that you inherited a bad situation and we accepted that compromises had to be made - even as we did not like it. Many of us told ourselves that you would still come through on the most important domestic issue yet: Health Care reform.
Your ideas about how to fix health care have not disappointed. You correctly and cogently defend the logic of a public health care plan. The goal of private health insurance is profits; huge profits. To make huge profits in health insurance one must constantly raise premiums, deductibles, and co-pays, while in turn avoiding actually covering people whenever and however possible. A public plan will offer full coverage and a better price and force private insurance to do the same or perish. This is the only way to fix our broken and cruel health care system.
And now Mr. President we come to the heart of the matter. Both you and your people have now repeated several times the claim that, though you want a public option as part of health care reform, you "will not insist on it" and will "draw no lines in the sand." You have expressed your desire to make the reform pleasing to big insurance companies and Republicans - the very people that oppose any real reform of the system!
Mr. President, why have you done this? Why are you so committed to compromise at all costs? You know there is no way to fix health care without a public option! What you have done is let the vested interests and their vassals in congress know that you will accept a bill with no public option. In other words sir, you are open to stopping real health care reform. Would Martin Luther king Jr have refused to "draw a line in the sand" about civil rights? Would Lincoln "not insist" on preserving the union?
Over fifty million Americans are now without insurance. Many millions more are denied coverage left and right by the insurance they have, nearly two thirds of bankruptcies, and many home foreclosures are the direct result of medical bills. Private insurance companies are taking people's homes, their health, their savings, their very lives. If you wish to compromise Mr. President, remember this ... YOU ARE COMPROMISING PEOPLE'S LIVES!!! You are refusing to "draw a line" for the well-being of people who elected you and believe in you. You are "not insisting" that people live and prosper.
Mr. President please stop being "open" about this. Please - at least this time, on this issue - don't compromise.
In the name of justice, compassion, and basic human dignity: PLEASE MR. PRESIDENT DRAW A LINE AND STAND FIRMLY IN FRONT OF IT!