Plea for (gulp) the Senate bill

/ 21 January 2010

I just called Betty McCollum’s DC office and asked where she stood on passing the Senate plan. I was shocked that the office could not articulate a position on this. I can understand “yes,” I can understand “no,” but I can’t understand a leader sitting on her hands and waiting for more input. This is a crisis time and the outlines of the crisis have been evident for over a week. I’m afraid this wishy-washy response left me feeling like my congressperson is weak and ineffectual.

After this past year of wrangling back and forth, I find myself urging my representative to hold their nose and vote for the Senate bill. And not only vote, but lobby her on-the-fence colleagues HARD to do the same. Yes, I hate what the Senate did, I can’t stand, especially, the abortion provisions, the Nevada deal, and much more of the mess they made. But we have worked too hard and fought too many special interests to let this moment pass by. Democrats have everything they need to turn ashes into victory here. As bad as the Senate bill is, it is not “toxic.” That notion is poison being fed to the Hill from the right. It is, in fact, antidote. Passing a bill, even the Senate bill, is the only way to wake up the public to what has been good in this fight all along. Once it is a done deal, we can wake people up to all the positive things that are in the bill (yes, even in the Senate bill). Democrats gain nothing by letting the moment pass, all the real toxins, the negative thumping of the right wing, remains our baggage if we cave in now. The only way to refute lies is with demonstration, and we can only demonstrate with action, and the only path of action left is the Senate bill.

I know you are not in a position to carry the water on this. But you are all I’ve got. You can call your representative now, during most important week of the year that was and the year to come, and ask them where they stand. This will define Democrats. Governing is not about getting everything you want, it is about compromise. Can the Democrats govern? We have majorities in House and Senate and we have the White House. There is nobody else to blame. Can we govern? Can we compromise? Can we make sausage? Now we find out. Today. This week.

(Not sure who to call? Check with OpenCongress.)


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