My parents always taught me the ultimate importance of saying “Thank you”. I am most grateful for the game-changing legislation on health care. Within the greater scheme of things, it makes me appreciative that our country has taken the proper path necessary for our continuation. Personally, it affords me the peace of mind that I will always have medical coverage with no annual or lifetime caps and that, should I get sick, my coverage cannot be rescinded by my insurance carrier. For an old bag pushing 60 years old, those are soothing thoughts.
This is my personal thank you to those who consistently forged ahead, against all odds, in securing this landmark bill. First and foremost, I offer profuse thanks to Howard Dean. His 50-state agenda was the beginning of changing the fundamental principles of caring for our populace. Dean set the stage for our new era of hope and change, not only ideologically but also mechanically, by using the Internet as a major tool in reaching out to Americans. This innovation of ideas coupled with a new means of getting his message out allowed actual policies to be born. Dean’s influence on today’s America cannot be overestimated. He set the groundwork and made a huge difference in the direction of this country.
Next in line for my thanks is President Obama. With his incredible intellect, stamina, creativity to think outside the box, common sense, core values and his calm, even-tempered disposition, he has set the bar high for the proper, yet daring, behavior that behooves us all. His civility and self-control is inspiring, although honestly, sometimes infuriating. I am so proud to call him my President and we have only seen the tip of the iceberg of his potential accomplishments. Let’s stick with him.
My admiration and respect is endless for Nancy Pelosi. This legislation would have never gotten anywhere without her strength of purpose, her quiet but powerful mien and her loyalty to her President. That huge gavel she carried into the House before the final vote was extraneous: she did not need that gavel to signify her resolve and leadership. She already embodied those characteristics within herself. The gavel was just a symbol. Make no mistake about it: the GOP is so furious at Pelosi because she brought this bill to fruition. She played the game with the best of them —– and won. She did what they could not do.
I also offer thanks to Bart Stupak. Without getting into the pros and cons of the abortion issue, I think his philosophical stance was sincere and realistic. I hate abortion, but I firmly support a woman’s right of choice. However, this new legislation was not the time or the place to change our existing policy on federal funding for abortion. The Hyde Amendment, passed in 1976, prohibits federal funding for this procedure. Stupak’s insistence that this HCR bill not alter the already existing legislation was reasonable. President Obama’s executive order reaffirming the precedence of the Hyde Amendment in relation to our new health bill was entirely in order. We proponents of choice lost nothing. Of course, neither did we gain anything. But that was not the point of this legislation. Stupak was civil and earnest in his bid to keep the status quo.
When our founding fathers wrote the Constitution as the groundwork for our new nation, they too had to deal with an incendiary issue, that of slavery. Slavery was just as ugly as abortion is to many people. Nevertheless, the founders ultimately had to push aside that issue in order to get their goal consummated and thus, the United States of America was born. Sure: the issue of slavery never went away and a hundred years later, we fought a bloody, civil war over that issue. But at the time of the signing of the Constitution, slavery had to be shelved so that the larger accomplishment could be attained. Likewise, I am sure we are not “done” with the abortion issue and the question of federal funding. We will deal with it, but we must do so in a separate forum at another time. Real change takes time, but even truer, each issue deserves its own focus and attention.
There were many other players in the game to get this historic bill passed. I thank all of them. Sometimes, a zero-hour situation brings out the best in people. Other times, the worst is the result. I think we all know who demonstrated their best behavior and who showed off their worst side.
My parents taught me well. I thank those who put their best foot forward, who demonstrated their best demeanor. It was the proper, respectful way to enact such a monumental, yet long overdue, piece of legislation. Howard Dean, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Bart Stupak all were instrumental in providing us with decent health care alternatives, and they did it in a professional, exemplary way. Thanks to our new law and the lawmakers who saw it through, maybe now our designation as a developed, civilized society can ring truer than it did before.