Recently, I’ve had a few discussions with friends regarding the current Senate health care bill. Is the death of the public option ok, since it got Medicare eligibility lowered to 55? That helps some people, right? More than are helped now, right? So that’s good, right?
Wrong. We have apparently been subjected to the obstructionist policies of the right wing for so long that we now have some form of Stockholm Syndrome. They toss us some scraps in the guise of “reform,” and we are thankful. Though every day the bill moves further and further away from anything resembling actual reform, still we are so thankful to get whatever crumbs the Right deigns to allow us.
Why should we be thankful? That they’ve watered down the bill enough that it doesn’t deserve the word “reform”? That our own representatives (with a very few exceptions) never even TRIED for a single-payer system, that they just wimped out and “settled” for less right from the start?
My friends are intelligent, educated, and well-meaning. But I must respectfully point out that they are playing right into the Right’s hand, behaving like good little Democrats who take the beating they are given and then say “Please sir may I have another?”
If we never fight for the highest, fullest goal that will bring about true change, then how can we possibly ever achieve it? If we say, “that’s not realistic,” then how can it ever be? We are cutting off our own hands by not even trying.
If we had started out with single payer as our stated goal, then a strong public option might have been a reasonable compromise. But we didn’t do that. We gave up before the fight even started. And let me tell you, right or wrong, turning the other cheek and “reaching across the aisle” doesn’t mean squat to the Right. It only shows that we are weak and defeatable, that they don’t have to take us seriously, that they can bulldoze whatever they want through either house and will get it in the end.
These friends of mine will say I’m too idealistic. As if that is an insult! It is only by striving for our ideals that we can make them reality. Yes, we must compromise along the way and take baby steps — but on the bottom line we are still aiming for the highest goals. Sadly, being idealistic (on the Left) is not viewed as a viable option. It is instead akin to being a naieve dreamer.
But someone has to dream, and someone has to fight to make that dream come true.