by Gloria Dulan-Wilson
Below is a letter I received from MoveOn, the grass roots organization that hits the ground running to help ensure people stay involved in supporting President Obama in his programs and efforts. I’m sharing this with you in case you’re not on their mailing list.
But first, some thoughts:
I must say that I am so proud and pleased that Congress not only passed the Health Care Bill, but they passed it on my Birthday, March 21!!! I feel like celebrating my Birthday all over again. Who am I kidding? As an Aries, I will be celebrating my birthday over and over again, at least until the sign changes. But now I'll have some additional "bragging rights!"
That little ego trip aside, I have want to take the opportunity, while it's still fresh, to say some things that we have to remember going forward because, somehow or other, it appears that we, as Black people are catching a very serious and contagious disease. Johnny Cochrane once said when it comes to business, education, or almost anything, there is a perception that "the white man's ice is colder."
Now what do I mean by quoting that statement? What it means it this: We seem to be harsher in critiquing our own when it comes to mistakes or taking steps that break from the status quo. Case in point: For 8 years we had a “president” who managed to take our country from a major economic surplus and turn it into a crushing deficit, such that, with the help of his cronies, the entire financial underpinnings of the government almost collapsed. And, when they began to try to bring about a "recovery," all they could think of to do was to try to cover their own asses, and make sure no damages were done to their cronies.
Had it not been for President Obama, who had enough insight to see that specific measures needed to be taken across the board, most of us, including yours truly, would be sitting in the middle of a street somewhere, trying to find shelter and food. We know the Bush Administration would not have done anything for any of us.
When President Obama was running for office, before the whole economic downturn nearly derailed the entire country, one of his key platform items was health care reform. He was perfectly clear as to what that would entail: no more bogus, overpriced medications to maintain your health when you can be cured; no denials because of pre-existing conditions; no denials because of age or employment/lack thereof; and a host of things. He was perfectly clear -- he did not stutter. He said what he wanted; he said when he wanted it; he said why it was necessary and who it would help.
It’s interesting when you allow the so called news analysts to get involved, they take the plain and make it obscure. They seem more interested in keeping confusion alive, than providing clarity.
Of course the pharmaceutical companies knew they would lose money because they can't sell you medications you don't need any more; and the surgical industry can't cut off body parts when stem cells can save them. This is why they lobbied so hard. Hmmm wonder why that public option was really canceled? Follow the money.
So, why am I hearing from some of my brothers and sisters that they didn't understand Obama's health care bill? That it was confusing and made no sense? Of course upon closer interrogation, when I asked had they read it in its entirety, they say no, they haven't. Or, some say the medical reform bill is "too expensive" -- though they can't seem to juxtapose that against nearly 10 years of war at a hefty $200 billion a year, or more. We're so in debt to the Chinese, we'd better learn to speak the language because they pretty much own the country, thanks to Bush.
Despite all he's accomplished during his first year, some of us seem to have no compunction about passing judgment on President Obama. By the way Obama is doing a wonderful job. He is on point all the time. Instead of giving him credit where credit is due, we disparage him. We who stood silently (stupidly) by while Bush nearly flushed this country down the toilet. I can understand if certain caucasians of a certain racist persuasion flap their gums. That's just a case of sour grapes. They haven't seen a president that dynamic since LBJ. That's been their stock in trade from day 1. We understand that syndrome
I want to warn you. POC's, about making sacred cows out of bulls--t. I want to warn you about trying to sound "objective". People of other nationalities do wonder about the sanity of some of us when we take the side of the media pundits; or when we play "devil's advocate" instead of standing with Obama. This is no time for fence sitting. Or trying to appear detached or sophisticated. You have to stand for and with Obama all the way through. This is not a fad. We have to stay the course.
Shows like Charlie Rose, Meet the Press, Bill O'Reilly, and others will bring on the nay-sayers, critics, and those who think they have some insight that Obama couldn't possibly have considered. And they may actually sound plausible. The whole concept is to discredit the president and make it look as if it's not personal, just business, procedure, protocol. You know the drill. The surveys that say x% of people don’t understand; x% don’t think it will help and x% think it won’t are designed to detract from the intrinsic value of the bill.
Monetizing health is rather dehumanizing and depersonalizing. You could have the best job in the world, but if you’re ill, or your insurance doesn’t cover your treatment, as far as they are concerned, you can jump in your coffin right now and pull the earth over yourself right now.
If the news media was truly interested in clarifying what Obama’s health care bill was about, they actually could have simply replayed his campaign speech in Denver, CO. He was very explicit. We are, instead, stuck with people who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. For example, what is the value of the human life? What is the value of quality of life? What is more important -- how many people you can kill in a war, or people you can save domestically?
You had best believe, particularly with the Republicans, they will be doing whatever they can to protect their cronies. They’re more important than the people they are constituted to serve. And it's definitely personal, and a vendetta is under way. Despite the efforts of the mainstream right wing media and other press to distort his message, there were enough of us who maintained our senses and thwarted their yellow journalistic efforts. So called faith-based TV shows went overboard in trying to disparage the President through "realistic" news broadcasts. We were on to that as well.
The President has personally gone to communities to talk with people about the efficacies of the health care bill. He cares enough about the people who elected him that he's leaving nothing to chance in shepherding this new bill into fruition.
But what about the rest of us? Those of us who are not necessarily politically involved, but did vote; those of us who live in America, are Black, and have a stake in what happens next? What are we doing? If we think we can coast over the next few years and things will just work themselves out -- Not gonna happen.
WE have a great work to do now. We have to contact and congratulate and thank those members of Congress who supported President Obama; and then we have to send a clear signal to those members of Congress -- Democrat and Republican who did not support him (and by extension, did not support you). By that I mean, we must send more Democrats to Congress this year than ever before -- in both Senate and House of Representatives. No more slip ups. No more oops, how did he or she get in there? We have to get those out who deliberately slowed down the process of the passage of this bill, because it's clear they are not operating in our best interest. We likewise have to begin backing the ones who do. We should know as much about our congressional representatives as we do rap artists, spoken words artists, actors/actresses, or the latest hot piece of music, etc. It’s time to do our homework, our due diligence. This is serious business.
Voting takes all of 5 minutes. But you only get to do it once every two years, and the Republicans have vowed to take revenge against President Obama. Let’s turn the tables and show them what we’re really made of. Do your homework and make sure we put people in place that are there for us. If we don’t we suffer the consequences of having sharks who look upon us as carrion.
If we are going to turn this country around; bring it into being a country that puts its people first, we can't sit around and wait to see what the rest of the folks are doing. We have an obligation to get it done ourselves. We have a brother in the White House who has proven that He “does not back down and he doesn't quit.” And neither should we. So if you haven't already, dust off all those Obama buttons and wear them proudly, and begin looking for a few Obama "clones."
Stay Blessed &
By the way: The President also overhauled funds of education, so those of you who thought you could not afford college, can now receive a Pell Grant to defray some of the expenses. Say, "Thank You President Obama!"
PS: MoveOn Letter follows:
Dear MoveOn member,
Yesterday, the House of Representatives made history. Even with the bill's flaws, health care reform is the most important piece of progressive legislation in decades.
Below is a list of ten of the most important things health care reform will accomplish for everyday Americans—none of which would've been possible without the dogged efforts of grassroots progressives and the support of Representative Edolphus Towns.1
But Republicans are already unleashing their spin machine to target Democrats who voted for reform, so we've got to show that we've got their backs. We've set a goal of making 505 thank-you calls from Brooklyn to Rep. Towns's office today—can you join in?
Here's where to call:
Representative Edolphus Towns
(NOTE: CONG. ED TOWNS REPS BROOKLYN, PLEASE LOOK UP AND CALL YOUR LOCAL CONGRESSMAN OR WOMAN - IF THEY VOTED FOR THE BILL; IF THEY DIDN'T CALL AND GIVE THEM A PIECE OF YOUR MIND)
And after you call, take a moment to check out the list and share it with all your friends. Big Insurance and right-wing extremists are already ratcheting up their campaign to spread misinformation about the bill, so it's critical that we get the truth out as widely as possible.
Thanks for all you do.
–Kat, Lenore, Laura, Michael, and the rest of the team
10 THINGS EVERY AMERICAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT HEALTH CARE REFORM
1. Once reform is fully implemented, over 95% of Americans will have health insurance coverage, including 32 million who are currently uninsured.
2. Health insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny people coverage because of preexisting conditions—or to drop coverage when people become sick.
3. Just like members of Congress, individuals and small businesses who can't afford to purchase insurance on their own will be able to pool together and choose from a variety of competing plans with lower premiums.
4. Reform will cut the federal budget deficit by $138 billion over the next ten years, and a whopping $1.2 trillion in the following ten years.
5. Health care will be more affordable for families and small businesses thanks to new tax credits, subsidies, and other assistance—paid for largely by taxing insurance companies, drug companies, and the very wealthiest Americans.
6. Seniors on Medicare will pay less for their prescription drugs because the legislation closes the "donut hole" gap in existing coverage.
7. By reducing health care costs for employers, reform will create or save more than 2.5 million jobs over the next decade.
8. Medicaid will be expanded to offer health insurance coverage to an additional 16 million low-income people.
9. Instead of losing coverage after they leave home or graduate from college, young adults will be able to remain on their families' insurance plans until age 26.
10. Community health centers would receive an additional $11 billion, doubling the number of patients who can be treated regardless of their insurance or ability to pay.