“Are we turning into Trump-like voters who believe that wishing will make it so and who refuse to take on the hard work of designing, fundraising and door knocking for something as important as this?”
On this 4th of July, I have a question for all those people imploring us to talk to the folks across the aisle or the country or the political divide. How the hell can we do that when progressive Democrats can’t even talk to each other here in California?
Yeah, you already know I’m talking about the shitshow that resulted from the shelving of our holiday wish list or our progressive letter-to-Santa, SB 562.
I was refused healthcare for many years in my own so-called-progressive state. Why, cause I had been on workers’ comp but it could have been any number of minor pre-existing conditions that gave insurers the right to tell me no. I once worked for a union which treated me as a contractor so I had to fight to pay for my own insurance on their plan-being a single mom of 2 kids with chronic illnesses-it was a necessity I was ready to fight for.
So along with many Californians I was very excited when Single Payer, which had been variously vetoed or ignored by our state government over the years, looked like it’s time had come. But you know when you start a relationship, then start to see red flags, but you try to convince yourself that you can fix it? You gravitate toward any explanation for their troubling behavior until everything falls apart and you see how it happened??
I was excited and ready to try and explain this bill to friends who had been suspicious of previous attempts at single payer. I kept asking questions, none of which got answered sufficiently but I wanted to try and see it through the eyes of skeptics so that I could attempt to explain their concerns away.
There’s all this money out there for healthcare and this would be cheaper than what we are currently doing. Yep, I believe that one, the evidence around the world proves that. But how would it be financed, well, we don’t know but we’ll figure it out and then let you know, trust us, right? Uh, I thought, I can’t use that sort of non-explanation with folks who are already leery. Hell, I can’t even use that on myself.
Framing is All in Politics
Immediately after those questions began to surface, I saw how it got framed by the opponents of our not-for-profit healthcare system. They’re coming to take your salary, half of it every year, they said. Absurd, I responded, asking again for a formula with actual numbers…
Do we live in the state that birthed, Don’t Think of an Elephant, for nothing? Do you even need George Lakoff to know that the first one who frames the debate, especially in a fear-fueled atmosphere, usually wins? So I freaked out, geezus, why didn’t we set up our talking points first? Why lay our own land mines in the way of victory? I think I tore a little hair out trying to tell anyone who would listen–we’re already making terrible mistakes.
No, they patiently told me, we’re gathering support for the concept. Really, didn’t we have that from every person who had realized that Obamacare was saving lives, maybe their own, and that it’s demise would ruin or even take them?! If not, this bill probably wasn’t going to convince them.
Well, I said to myself, maybe the threat against the ACA will move the legislature and even Jerry can detect political rumblings [I ‘m convinced he doesn’t hear actual human voices, but like an animal, he can sense when a thunderstorm is about to break, especially as he’s been hit by lightning a couple times already.]
California Democratic Convention Organizes Firing Squad
So I gathered my desperation and painted it as hope. Then the Democratic Convention happened and instead of California’s governing party discussing how to resist the Trump regime or even, with so many Berniecrats and the powerful nurses’ union in attendance, how to get the Business Dems (we’re supposed to call them Mod Dems) to our side by overwhelming them with our logic, we shouted them down. Oops, no, we shouted everyone down, including long time fighter John Burton then we kept shouting until everyone else had left the room-here I’m being metaphorical or hyperbolic or whatever, cause I had already left myself, so I don’t know.
But the California Senate passed 562 so I thought, where there’s a will… etc, but it was more–where there’s buck to pass, a career to be advanced…Didja know that Senator Lara who designed this bill, this mission statement of notions, is running for Insurance Commissioner, and is termed out soon?
I’ve been told by many politically savvy folks that this bill is being used as a litmus test for anyone running for office. I can’t imagine having to support any candidate who doesn’t believe in some form of universal healthcare but, apparently, it has to be this bill-a bill which ignores the realities of Prop 98 and the Gann amendments-or you must walk the plank!
Fake News = Any News We Don’t Want to Hear
Orthodoxy on the Left is nothing new but it seems more dangerous at a time when facts and journalism are being eschewed as fake news. Within my own 18th AD Caucus of the county Democratic Party, questioning the viability of SB 562 is a good reason for personal attacks. You can almost see folks covering their ears and yelling “lalala.”
I do not claim to understand all the pros and cons of this particular bill so I kept reading about it and you can too. See the Intercept https://theintercept.com/2017/06/30/california-single-payer-organizers-are-deceiving-their-supporters-its-time-to-stop/
If you actually read those articles, either of them or this one, you will see that a voter initiative is the next step- http://www.sacbee.com/site-services/newsletters/capitol-alert-newsletter/article143463329.html.
Note the final quote from Paul Song, a board member for the nonprofit advocacy group Physicians for a National Health Program and the former chair of the Courage Campaign, “We’re eventually going to have to go the initiative route.”
Knowing this, why are we purging each other and clinging to false hope? Are we turning into Trump-like voters who believe that wishing will make it so and who refuse to take on the hard work of designing, fundraising and door knocking for something as important as this? Would we rather blame those who question this orthodoxy or think long and hard before raising their hopes on a campaign that threatens to turn into an inquisition?
Beyond the blacklisting of those who see the obstacles littering our way, this approach may deepen the cynicism in an electorate that is in despair when we tell them such stories. So have we have taken a moment of progressive activism and turned it into a call for passive righteousness? Though you may raise a red flag in front of some folks to get a rise out of them, they will not charge for long when there is no payoff at the end.
Don’t lie or spin to people whose energy and good will you will need for a serious and difficult campaign. We’ll all have to put in long hours and thoughtfulness to win healthcare in this state and this country. Like #45 said, turns out it’s complicated. Who Knew?