I was at a function featuring Chris Dodd on Sunday. He spoke about a number of topics, but Health Care was obviously a front and center concern.
Before he spoke, I took my 5 seconds of his attention to thank him for his work on health insurance reform, and he said "Thanks, sometimes it feels like I'm all alone out there."
In his talk, he made it clear that he supports a strong public option, and that he is sick of attempts to be bipartisan with people who only want to scuttle the bill. He also made it clear that he wants pro-reform voices invited to the White House with the same frequency as Blue Dogs and GOP.
In the Q&A period, I took the opportunity to remind him that the people there were a self-selected group of political activists and to ask him what was the most important thing we could do to help him get the best reform possible.
Nothing he said really surprised me and it certainly fits with recommendations from other diarists, but he emphasized some things that made me think, so I wanted to share them, which I will do after the break.
He said we need to get our voices heard.
He emphasized public-to-public forums more than contacting congresspeople.
He mentioned Letters to the Editor, Phone Calls, Door to Door canvassing, and calling in to talk radio. He said that we may feel uncomfortable calling a right wing show and getting talked over by the host, but that we have to get out the message that there are people who disagree with the right wing talking points.
He said that people, good people, who have insurance and have never had a serious claim, are reasonably satisfied with the current system. They are understandably afraid of something different. They need to be reassured. We who are deeply involved with the issue forget how scary it may seem to someone who is only hearing talking points flying from both sides.
So, he said, "we need to treat it like a campaign." Get out there. Get visible. Talk to neighbors, friends, co-workers.
And then it hit me.
Last spring, summer, and fall, we took a foreign sounding, unfamiliar "product" and got 52% of the American public to vote for him. (O.K. BHO himself did some of the heavy lifting). We can do the same for health care.
What can the grass-roots do that simply cannot be done with money? We can talk to people one-on-one. We can make sure that when the conversation turns to health care, we are ready with answers to their fears, and we can direct the conversation to Health care when it doesn't go there itself.
One of the most important things we can do, IMHO, is just be out there, visible. Show our neighbors that someone who doesn't scare them (diarist excluded here) likes the idea of health insurance reform. Make it seem familiar and friendly to them. Give them the mind-set to get over their fear and view it on its merits. If we did it for Barack, we can do it for reform.
Every day. Every one of us. Do something that moves reform forward.
Yes We Can.