Over the weeks before Christmas, I found myself totally absorbed by the “debate” on health care reform bill in the Senate. Debate is not what I watched at all. As a matter of fact, one would not know that the Democrats and Republicans were speaking about the same bill. The Democrats tended to read stories from their various constituents who went through extreme financial and emotional pain, including preventable deaths, and pushing toward getting as many people as covered as possible, claiming this bill would do just that.
The Republicans railed on about cuts to Medicare and “killing grandma” and taxes, taxes, taxes. It was nothing different than any other “debate” between these two parties. You would have real difficulty understanding what was in the bill and the amount of legal jargon and references to other sections make it incredibly difficult to understand even if you do read the actual legislation.
Then something happened which totally changed my focus. I live in MA, which I laughingly called “the Socialist Republic of Massachusetts”, and all of a sudden I started seeing tons and tons of signs and people for Scott Brown. We all know what happened there. I gave up. I totally gave up. I didn’t watch any news or care a lick about what the pols were saying. I got to know my State Rep over the course of the special election, and if I was going to care about politics, it was going to be local only.
I admit I am one of those dems who didn’t pick up a phone and work on the Coakley campaign until the last week. I made sure to stress to everyone I knew who probably wasn’t interesting in voting, who thought it was a shoe-in, who hadn’t been paying attention, that they had better go vote if they wanted the seat to remain in Democratic control. I made sure all three of my sons voted, one via absentee, one driving home from school and one still home. It was for naught.
And then January 29, 2010 I got a bucket of ice water dropped on me. President Obama went to the Republican retreat. He spoke and answered questions and all of a sudden my brain turned on and reminded me WHY I voted for this man and that giving up is not an option. I “enjoyed” the State of the Union, but I wasn’t moved to think there was much hope.
Friday was different. I don’t for one second believe the President will change the minds of the wing nut brigade, even though he did mention his healthcare plan was not some Bolshevik plot (loved that), but I think he got a new chance with Independent minded people and he certainly energized the base from what I observed.
Heck….MSNBC is running the thing over and over and I have watched it as it happened and dissected by MSNBC since the original airing. I’m so lucky I was tuned into CNN on-line and heard this start. I could go to C-SPAN and watch and eat my lunch. The timing was perfect. Now don’t get my wrong. I don’t all of a sudden believe that gridlock is going to magically disappear from the Congress, ESPECIALLY the Senate, but I have HOPE that if the President keeps working in this way that he can maybe, maybe get enough support to move some of the more reasonable legislators to support some of his ideas and maybe even acknowledge that some of their proposal actually have been heard and incorporated in legislation. If the rational people can “out scream” the wing nuts, we may just be able to make some progress. I’m not convinced, for sure, but I have HOPE again and it’s a lot better feeling than the despair I was experiencing. I just pray it’s not an illusion.