I lived in Michigan for most of my life and am simply appalled that a Democratic congressman from a District that represents so many people in need could take such a politically opportunistic initiative.
Stupak's District, MI-1, contains some exceptionally poor and troubled communities, most of which have never been prosperous and trace their downhill trajectories back to the failure of the iron and copper mines many, many years ago.
Stupak's act is all the more treacherous for what it potentially inflicts on his own district's neediest people, and his district includes some of the neediest in the nation:
Some of the counties in MI-1 include Oscoda, with a median family income of $31,300 and 21.6% of all individuals living in poverty, Houghton with median family income of $34,800 and 19.0 of all individuals living in poverty and Gladwin, $35,100 and 17.6%, compared to a US median family income of $50,700 and 13.0% living in poverty, and Michigan figures of $47,900 and 13.9%. (All figures 2007)
I am adding my note to my earlier call to your office in protest and disappointment over your amendment to the House healthcare reform act. The bill is a major opportunity to advance the state of healthcare for Americans not privileged to be covered by insurance, or to be covered adequately to not be broken financially by the poor luck of ill health. Your amendment adds an unnecessary red herring, not to mention a socially regressive and repugnant issue, to an already difficult process. You have ill-served your District and the nation with your politically opportunistic behavior.
I grew up in Traverse City, proud of Michigan's socially progressive history. Your initiative belongs to the lower rung of today's political discourse, more aligned with Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the rest of the radical right hit parade than with the noble heritage of your District, your State and your Party. You serve many poor, unemployed, underemployed, uninsured, underinsured people getting by on their strength of character and the Grace of God. You have let them down. Drive through Norway, Ishpeming, Escanaba, Oscoda, Atlanta, Alpena, Iron County, stop in at dialysis centers, nursing homes, rehab centers, hospitals, doctors' offices, unemployment offices, high schools and blood centers -- talk to people and ask them how you can help them, rather than how you can help your own political career. Get out of the town halls with the screaming nuts and go where people need you. Why are you serving in the first place?
Shame on you. I can only hope that it costs you your political career at some point, for you have potentially made the debate, the prospects for true healthcare reform and the state of the nation's health all absolutely worse. You deserve the rebukes you have already received and those still to come.