Published on Other Jones.com, by Deena Stryker, 8/17/2009.
Dear President Obama: The often rowdy debates over your plan to reform health care reveal your fundamental mistake in thinking that you could prevail if you were cautious.
Caution inspired an extremely complicated organizational chart, which your opponents show off at Town Hall meetings. Who wouldn’t run from that? More bureaucracy means more money, and dividing up the responsibilities is never efficient …
… Speaking of Town Hall Meetings, I don’t believe there were any when President Bush went to war in 2001 and 2003, nor when you decided to pretty much continue his war policies.
What’s the point of having public debates about health care when we don’t have public debates about going to war? For all the valor of the anti-war movement, everybody knows that once the horse is out of the barn it’s too late to close the door.
By not designing health care reform as a single payer system, which is what all civilized countries have in one form or another, you’re rapidly finding yourself in the same mess as the Clintons, which will force you, in order not to fail completely, as they did, to compromise away the public option which you thought could save the present system while taking care of the uninsured.
The single payer system is the only one that makes sense economically and socially. You gave the establishment what it wanted by continuing its war policies. If you don’t stand up to it now by clearing the table of all the compromises being studiously worked on to save a dying social system, the beast will continue to suffer a long drawn out illness before collapsing of its own weight.
The simultaneous conflation of health care reform with fascism and communism is the result of our political and media class lumping them together as totalitarianism regimes. The fascist regimes didn’t provide universal health care, the socialist regimes did. The American public’s knowledge of social systems is abysmal and can no longer be ignored if you really want to bring change to America.
There have to be continuing town halls all over the country led by different people and different groups about the role of government in a democratic society, so that Americans can first of all acquire healthy brains. (full text).