Robert Reich gives a brief, clear explanation of what the public option is and why it is important, and then goes on to explain what you can do to help. Opponents to meaningful reform are impressively well-organized and have almost unlimited financial resources. This is the time when everyone needs to step up:
1. Call your representatives in Congress and tell them you support President Obama’s healthcare reform plan and that you support a public option. This is the most important step. Politicians take calls from constituents very seriously, more seriously than emails or faxes. Go to the CongressMerge online Congressional directory and enter your address to get the contact information for your Representative and Senators. Take fifteen minutes out of your day to call both Senators and your Representative, even if they have already said they support reform. This is going to get very, very rough, and we can’t let anybody go wobbly if we can prevent it. Program the numbers into your phone and call as many times and as often as you can stand.
2. Go to the Health Care For America Now web site and use their handy interface to email to your representatives in Congress. Use their template, modify it, or write your own letter, and Health Care for America Now will fill in the necessary address information and forward it to your representatives.
3. Post this video on you Facebook page, MySpace page, and blog, and email it to friends, family, and whomever else might get some good out of it.
4. Talk to all your friends, family, and coworkers about this. If people support reform, urge them to do what they can to help. In the video, Reich pointedly mentions talking to your friends in Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Maine, Wyoming. These are the states of five members of the Gang of Six, the six Senators on the Senate Finance Committee who are trying to forge a bipartisan compromise bill. He omits Iowa, Chuck Grassley’s state, because Grassley has plainly been throwing up objections to whatever has been proposed and isn’t going to go along with meaningful reform anyway.
If your are engaging people who are opposed to the proposed reform, this is an incredibly easy argument to win, as evidenced by the the fact that opponents have not come up with a single well-reasoned, factual argument for opposing reform. Here are some links with additional information if you need talking points, assuming they can be convinced by someone that isn’t screaming and waving a sign:
Like Mr. Reich says, this is our last chance to make this happen. You cannot wait any longer to get involved in this. In a couple of weeks, we will have either made a profound positive change to America for ourselves and all who follow us, or we will have to spend years regretting that we didn’t do enough. Spend the next few days doing as much as you are able to do, and you will never ever regret it, no matter how things turn out.
In 2004, Texas executed Cameron Todd Willingham for murdering his three children by setting fire to his house. Now a new report by the Texas Forensic Science Commission has called the arson report so seriously flawed that it cannot be relied upon, “nothing more than a collection of personal beliefs that have nothing to do with science-based fire investigation.” Willingham was convicted of killing his children by arson, but we now know the fire wasn’t arson. The commission will release it’s final report next year, and might do what no other state has ever done, admit to wrongfully executing an innocent person.
This might be an interesting point in the death penalty debate. As David Gann noted in his recent New Yorker article about the Willingham case, which I strongly recommend you read,
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in 2006, voted with a majority to uphold the death penalty in a Kansas case. In his opinion, Scalia declared that, in the modern judicial system, there has not been “a single case—not one—in which it is clear that a person was executed for a crime he did not commit. If such an event had occurred in recent years, we would not have to hunt for it; the innocent’s name would be shouted from the rooftops.”
Gann’s article is fascinating and worth reading in full. It’ll break your heart, but read it anyway.
Jeff Winkler and Radley Balko at Reason have an great list for those who enjoy a little moral panic nostalgia:
And since the British sociologist Stanley Cohen defined the moral panic phenomenon in the early 1970s as hysterical overreactions to imagined threats to social order, no publication has done a better (by which we mean worse) job of scaring the crap out of post-baby boomer America than Time, the top-selling newsweekly that’s dropping subscribers like the mythical meth mouth drops teeth.
Israeli musician Kutiman used Vegas Pro editing software to stitch together more than a hundred YouTube videos, and uploaded an album’s worth of material at Thru-You.com. Each song has embedded links to the sampled musicians. He did a remarkable job of combining the musical fragments of dozens of people who will likely never even meet one another into a compelling whole.