I don't post often as I find that many of you can say better what I'm thinking, and I've never posted the full contents of a letter I've sent to an elected offical, but Senator Reid's announcement that his priority is passing a bill that will get 60 votes really struck a nerve with me today. As you'll read, my Uncle (the closest person to a father that I've ever known) has Lou Gehrig's Disease and is declining fast, and the Senator's comments today made me think that his priorities are completely out of wack.
Please follow beyond the jump to see my letter.
My uncle has ALS and has only a few months to live. He is a retired American history teacher, who has spent his entire life fighting for progressive values: justice, equality, human and civil rights. Please pass a bill that will give him hope that everyone will have access to the excellent level of care that he has been fortunate enough to receive over these last two, impossible years. It has never been more apparent to me than now that real people are suffering and need help and hope.
While your loyalty to the Senate may in many circumstances be honorable, it is in this case an insult to him and to all the American people to say that your priority is to get 60 votes even if it means sacrificing a bill that will bring real change, reform, and affordable access to health care to all Americans.
Poll after poll shows that more than 60% of us want healthcare reform that includes a public option. Seeking bipartisanship for the sake of the Senate on such an important matter betrays my uncle, your constituents and the American people. It's okay to sacrifice a little congeniality at the office in order to stand up for what's right. We deserve real reform, not a sham bill that protects the 'sanctity' of the relationship between the people and their insurance company. Is the status quo in the senate really worth such nonsense and hypocrisy? Stand up for all those who don't have a voice; not for your Republican rivals in the Senate; and pass a real healthcare reform bill this year that includes a robust public option.
Senator Reid, I implore you, take your queues from my uncle. He is a man who has molded lives for almost half a century. He would take his students on field trips to Boston, Lexington and Concord where he taught them about the courage of our Founding Fathers, about men who risked their lives in pursuit of a more perfect union, about men of conviction who would not yield to the most powerful nation on Earth if it meant sacrificing their freedom.
Now is your moment, Senator, to be a man of honor and conviction, to stand your ground for what is right and to lead us to a new and better place. We cannot afford at this moment to blink, or this once in a lifetime chance to do something Revolutionary (in the best American sense of the word) will pass.
That's what my Uncle would tell you, if he could speak the words. Now you and I need to be his voice. I will hope and pray that you will do the right thing.