I especially liked his reference to the letter he received from Ted Kennedy:
I received one of those letters a few days ago. It was from our beloved friend and colleague, Ted Kennedy. He had written it back in May, shortly after he was told that his illness was terminal. He asked that it be delivered upon his death....It was truly a great speech. Given the opportunity to edit it, I would have tweaked it:
He expressed confidence that this would be the year that health care reform – "that great unfinished business of our society," he called it – would finally pass. He repeated the truth that health care is decisive for our future prosperity, but he also reminded me that "it concerns more than material things." "What we face," he wrote, "is above all a moral issue; at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country." [emphasis added]
But an additional step we
canmust take to keep insurance companies honest is by making a not-for-profit public option available in the insurance exchange. Let me be clear – it would onlybe an option only for those who want it. don't have insurance.
So now the question is, Can he deliver?
Even more importantly, can we?
I believe that the stance Barack Obama took tonight was altered by our activism and our persistence. In spite of his chastisement of Progressives for imbuing the public option with so much importance, I think his support of it was stronger because of indications Americans demand it. I think we did that.
During the election last year, we were just dipping our toes into this online organizing thingy. But clearly our work on health care reform proves that we're getting better at this. We're learning more, we're teaching each other, we're making more and more important connections. We are aggregating our power. How awesome is that?
Tonight I feel guardedly hopeful, not so much because of Obama's speech but because we are mobilizing for real change. I knew when Obama was elected that the really hard work lay ahead of us, and I was worried about whether we'd have the heart and the wherewithal to do it. Tonight, I'm less worried.
Barbara Boxer reported on Rachel Maddow that after the speech, Obama said to her, "Now let's get it done." That was my favorite thing he said all night. Enough talk. Let's have some action.
If you haven't already, tell each of your representatives to support real health care reform. Tell them you insist on a robust public option.
Write letters to local and national newspapers in support of real health care reform with a robust public option.
Particularly if your representative is a member of the Progressive Caucus, ask her or him to publicly commit to voting against any health care that does not contain a robust public option.
If you have other ideas of how to push for meaningful health care reform, please let me know.
Now let's get it done!