I awoke today to the news that the Health Care Bill has passed in the US House of Representatives. Hard to believe, really; this sort of movement forward hasn’t seemed possible in recent months. And I don’t say “movement forward” lightly. I don’t think this is the end-all solution: who does? But it’s a step, a tiny step, in a direction that so many other modern enlightened democracies take for granted. I for one am glad to see the US stepping out of the dark ages. How can you say no to preventative health care and early funding for community health centers? How can you say no to 32 million uninsured Americans?
Never mind all the name calling, never mind the Facebook protesters; never mind the absurdity of the woefully overused cry about the “tyranny of the majority” ; never mind the horror of expanding socialism at home; never mind those dreams of turning Health Care Reform into Obama’s Waterloo, (and the equally worrisome claims of victory which are perhaps too much too soon); never mind what has amounted to a cynical campaign against reform (in the words of NYT Op-Ed Columnist Paul Krugman); never mind the warnings of political aftermath and possible downfall because sometimes doing the right thing is just the right thing, Pyrrhic victory or not (remember what people said about Ronny Reagan and Medicaid?) — and never mind the fact that once upon a time the US exported its own ideas of democracy which included promoting a “socialist” agenda; see, specifically, Article 25 of the The Constitution of Japan, November 3, 1946:
In all spheres of life, the State shall use its endeavors for the promotion and extension of social welfare and security, and of public health.
Never mind all that noise. This is a good day.
But let’s not delude ourselves. Today is just the beginning. Good steps will occur, missteps will occur. Two steps forward, one step back (which sometimes means one step forward, two steps back — Oh, wait, that’s Lenin, yikes!) — that’s what it’s all about.
How will we move forward from here? With a lot more noise, that’s for sure. But let’s start with what my President said when urging members of his party to pass the Health Care Reform Bill:
Every once in a while a moment comes where you have a chance to vindicate all those best hopes that you had about yourself, about this country, where you have a chance to make good on those promises that you made … And this is the time to make true on that promise. We are not bound to win, but we are bound to be true. We are not bound to succeed, but we are bound to let whatever light we have shine. (taken from Paul Krugman’s Op-Ed piece, cited above)
Shine on, shine on…