Originally published on March 22, 2010 at Yo Mama For Obama
Here is a tribute to our new health care reform bill in the form of a musical classic. Note that I have used the doo-wop, more sedate version, because really, only time will tell if this bill is truly a cause for flat-out, riotous congratulations or a jumping-off ground for more litigious, sore-loser behavior from them opposition:
In the words of Robert J. Haynes, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO: "Imperfect progress now is better than perfect progress never."
Above all, this historic legislation was necessary for our children. Without the proper feeding and watering, the committment to honest to goodness care, of our nation’s children, no fight is worth a whit. No nation, no society can survive without a healthy younger generation. This is the overwhelming victory of last night’s vote. The United States now is legally bound to put their money where their mouth is and materially support the growth of our younger generation so that they may ultimately lead and exemplify productive lives.
Not surprisingly, there is much talk of the attorney generals in as many as twenty states who are revving up a battle to repeal this landmark law. They claim it unconstitutional for any state to be directed to spend billions of their dollars on federal mandates. Underscoring that position, they also hold that the new law of the land, that every American must buy health insurance, is likewise unconstitutional. What these astute lawyers are refusing to acknowledge is that the bedrock of our nation’s philosophy, democratic structure and principles of equality is the plain fact that those with more are going to have to help those with less. Period. Thus, our graduated income tax model. This health reform bill does entail an increase in taxes, but not an unreasonable, debilitating burden. Yes, the capital gains tax will rise from 15% to around 18%, but come on, that’s the least we can do for the greater good. Get over it.
The true issue, the constant irritant to the GOP, is the fact that the rich are going to have to pay more to help out the poor. This is an anathema to them. So they couch this health issue in poisonous language and try to scare the hell out of the American people, citing such inflammatory isms as socialism, communism, nazism and just plain old Armageddon. How disingenuous is it to speak of decent and affordable health care for all Americans, especially our children, while out of the other side of one’s mouth comes the zero-tolerance for actually paying for those benefits?
The Republicans were able to present a united front against health care legislation because their party is so narrow-minded in their view of what is best for the majority of Americans. Similarly, the Democratic party was a literal mess in accumulating the necessary votes for passage because of their openness to all sides of the issue. In the end, it came down to the reality that the Democrats were willing to lose some elections in November as a trade-off for getting the necessary legislation through. Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo said it beautifully:
In order to win decisively and deliver the goods to those who need them, the risk must be taken. The Democrats took that risk and, win or lose in the next round of elections, they won the more important victory of "doing the right thing."
A few footnotes to this vote. Some visual images stand out remarkably for me. When the Tea Party people were massed outside the Capital and flung racist and other poisonous epithets at such freedom-dedicated representatives as John Lewis and Barney Frank, the situation became as ugly as could be. At best, this behavior was a result of the heat of the moment and at worst, it could be a much more dangerous path that uncovers the base prejudice and toxicity of our population. Nevertheless, later in the day, when Nancy Pelosi and colleagues Steny Hoyer, John Lewis and John Larson entered the Congress, they presented an image of solidarity not only in support of health care reform, but also in repudiation of the base antics of the protesters outside. It isn’t often that we see men holding hands with men, so this picture proved very meaningful:
Another memento I will have from the proceedings last night was the women, i.e. the female Congressional representatives, in their simple, yet loyal stance to help our children. Regardless of their religion, their political position on abortion, they so beautifully voiced their concern for bettering the lives of our children. The men also spoke about this issue, but, and it may very well be due to some prejudice within me, it was the women who made all of their statements believable and quite moving.
Remember this: it is about the children. It is always about the children. Our past, present and future are our children. Once our raison d’etre for governing ignores our kids, we may as well kiss the United States of America goodby. That includes our founding principles as well as our current efforts to govern fairly and effectively. Patrick Kennedy, son of the late Ted Kennedy, said that his father’s "heart and soul are in this bill." Absolutely. Inclusive in this legislation is not only Ted Kennedy’s heart and soul, but the heart and soul of every single child in our country. If this bill had not passed, I am not sure that our children would have hearts and souls any longer.
I know I have cited this music before, on Election night, probably on Inauguration Day also. But this song, written and performed by my daughter, Maribel, really does say it all about what is most important. And that my friends, you guessed it,are the children:
Congratulations to President Obama for his vision, his perseverance in translating his ideas into reality and to his inborn competitive character. He blended all of his gifts and talents wonderfully. Yes, he did. Nancy Pelosi is deserving of equal praise for her almost impossible feat to deliver the votes. And she did. And we all did because, in the end, yes, we can!