The current state of affairs is certainly not what I envisioned in November. I had high hopes but it's hard to cling to that sense of limitless possibility that seemed to be all around us after the election in the face of the current climate . I know that it's still early in Obama's presidency and way too early to give up hope. But at times it seems that we're going nowhere. That nothing essential has changed except a few of the key players.
The "debate" on health care reform is taking its toll. There are rumors that the White House is going to support dropping the public option from the bill. At the mere mention of these, the vitriol that has seemed to be reserved for the Right has been suddenly unleashed by the Left. The comments on Huffington Post abound with people ready to ditch the Democratic party over this "abandonment" and predicting defeat in 2012 for Obama.
Others are ready to pull their support from Obama and progressive Democrats over DOMA and DADT.
Since when did we give a President a mere 8 months before we decided he wasn't worthy of reelection? Yes, I'm disappointed at the snail's pace that the Obama administration has chosen to take in re DOMA and DADT. If the rumors are true that the public option is being dropped, I'll disappointed, certainly. Will it be entirely Obama's fault if health care reform fails? No. Could more be done, should more be done? Absolutely.
The real blame for the failure of health care reform, if it ultimately fails, will be with the health insurance and pharmaceutical companies. They have lots of incentive to make sure it fails. Anything that risks reducing their revenues and profits is a threat. The four largest health insurers made a total of $172.2 billion in revenue, mostly in premiums from their 74.8 million members. Their net profits varied quite a bit and were much harder to determine. They ranged from a high for WellPoint of $2.5 billion to a paltry $794 million for Kaiser Permanente. That's a lot of money. And if we know one thing to be true in America that we can all, Right and Left, agree on, it's that money talks.
It talks in the form of lobbyists and donations made to political campaigns. It talks in the form of websites and TV ads and mass mailers aimed at spreading the word. It talks and, it seems, we listen. But is it worth listening to?
No matter what happens, I know that I made the best choice in voting for Obama. I cannot even comprehend what the past 8 months would have been like with McCain and Palin in the White House. Still, I could not have predicted that 8 months into a new administration we'd be faced with this crisis of faith. Maybe I'm naive, but I hoped that we had elected someone who would do things differently. Maybe we did but the machine that is Washington didn't get the message. Maybe he played us all. Or maybe that's what the corporations and conservatives want us to think. Whatever the truth, it's up to all of us to keep talking.
And to keep listening.