Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Political Strategery

With Chimpy's approval rating almost as low as his IQ, and the Congressional Republicans heading toward liquid helium territory, they've decided to shore up their base -- specifically, it appears, the all-important pro-torture movement, which spans a broad segment of the American public from Alan Dershowitz to Dennis Rader. It is something of a mystery why the right to torture is non-negotiable for President Cheney, minor demons Lott and Hastert, and president Mortimer Snerd, but there it is.

While they may not have found the winning coalition with that one, politics is also tough for those of us who want to do what's right and establish universal, comprehensive national health care here, just like they have in civilized nations. The problem is that the public interest is diffuse. The vast majority of Americans would benefit, but they aren't spending their blood and treasure to get it. On the other hand, drug companies, for-profit hospital and nursing home chains, and insurance companies will fight to the death to stop it, and they have plenty of money to spend and no scruples whatever. Doctors are divided, depending on whether their top priority is making every possible dollar to buy the biggest possible sailboat; or keeping people healthy, healing the sick, and comforting the afflicted. Consequently the AMA -- which used to be the most powerful opponent of reform, at least that's progress -- is now on the sidelines.

So here's my pitch. The only way to win this is to have an active, mobilized, organized citizenry. If there's a coalition for health care reform in your state, join it, give money, go to meetings. Check out Community Catalyst (see the sidebar), tell your friends, and write and call your representatives in Congress and your state legislators. Give money to progressive candidates, just like the followers of the Anti-Christ, Pat Robertson, give. If you want to save your ass, get off of it.

Lecture over. I'm in the wilderness again until Sunday.

No comments: