The bill’s flawed. The process was ugly. There’s still a lot of work to be done and who knows what will happen in November.
But I don’t care.
They did it!
They did it.
Nothing like this has happened in my memory.
I was too young to be paying attention to the last great Progressive legislative victories on Civil Rights and Medicare and Medicaid.
Since then all the victories have been in one way or another occasions more for sadness than celebration.
Ending the war in Vietnam, running Richard Nixon out of town, saving Bill Clinton.
Even preventing George Bush from destroying Social Security. That was holding the line. Which has pretty much been the Progressive record for the last thirty years. Holding the line against Right Wing Corporatist and Right Wing Christianist assaults on the New Deal, the Great Society, Civil Rights---for African-Americans, women, gays, immigrants, and just about everybody who isn’t “us”---and the Social Contract.
Holding the line and making smaller-scale improvements to programs already in place, expanding rights and benefits incrementally---although much of that work was left to the courts---and undoing some of the harm done by stupid and mean-spirited Republican legislative and executive and, lately, judicial decisions.
Progressivism, at least in Washington, became a defense of the status quo.
This is different. This is progress.
We can argue later about how much or how little.
But the bill, soon to become the law, is significant for what it signifies as much or more than for what it actually does.
It is the first time since the passage of the minimum wage and child labor laws and workplace safety regulations that it’s been said in law that profits do not matter as much as a human being’s life.
I know. It doesn’t say profits don’t matter. But it does say that from here on out no one will die so that people working in the insurance industry can get their Christmas bonuses.
It will take a few years before that’s what actually happens. But think about it. For a hundred and thirty years, the guiding principle of the party of Big Business has been that the right of the privileged few to make gobs of money trumps the rights of the rest of us to anything else, a decent wage, a decent job that doesn’t kill us or make us sick, a secure old age, clean water, clean air, food that doesn’t poison us, and, when we or our kids get sick, the right to get treatment without having someone else decide whether or not we can get it based on whether or not it is profitable for them.
And this victory is significant because it is a significant defeat for the the forces of Right Wing reaction.
No movement whose adherents spit on people they disagree with, let alone on United States Congressmen, call anyone nigger, let alone heroes of the Civil Rights movement, jeer and cheer when one of their own calls another human being a faggot, believe that they are the only real Americans, the only ones whose votes and opinions count, the only ones with rights, and raise signs and banners advocating violence and murder just because they’re not getting their way can be allowed to get its way. No politician who cheerleads for that movement and eggs its followers on and stokes their anger and encourages them to believe that the proper functioning of republican democracy is illegitimate and the duly-elected President of the United States is their enemy can be allowed to go home to his or her district and brag about how they helped win another one for the cause of Right Wing Reaction.
It’s a flawed bill. There’s a lot of work left to do. The challenge to women’s rights is serious and dismaying. The fight isn’t over, on health care, reproductive rights, or any other front. As Peter Daou says, the fundamental dynamic hasn’t changed and the “GOP and rightwing attack machine will [continue to] do everything possible to destroy Obama's presidency”.
And don’t think for a minute that John Roberts and his fellow Republican Party stooges on the Supreme Court aren’t already looking forward to their chance to declare the whole thing unconstitutional.
And like I said, who knows what’s going to happen in November, except to say that whatever happens, it’s going to happen after a rough and ugly campaign.
Bur right now, I don’t care.
They did it.
They did it!
Last night I said on Twitter God bless Nancy Pelosi and one of my followers said that he appreciated the sentiment but he doesn’t believe in God. I replied that I don’t believe in Him either, but Nancy Pelosi does and at the moment whatever Nancy Pelosi says goes with me. God bless her!
And God rest Teddy Kennedy.
From Crooks and Liars, Ten immediate benefits of HCR.
From Kathy Flake, Armageddon. Next door to Waterloo.
From Andrew Tobias, A Great Day for America.
A Progressive dissent from Jane Hamsher, submitted by regular reader Mac Magillicuddy.
Paul Krugman: Fear Strikes Out.
Adam Serwer, The American Prospect: A Diversity Win.
More as I find ‘em throughout the day.