Monday, August 17, 2009

Making a Severe Mistake

And I don't just mean Obama.

Yes, I think Obama would be making a mistake if he backs off on the public option. But I also think a lot of liberal/progressive activists would be making a severe mistake if they take any such backing as confirmation of their cynicism about a broken system.

The goal here has always been and will always be health care that is affordable, effective and universal. Obama and many others believe that a strong public option is necessary to achieve that. But a strong public option is NOT and never has been the goal of this process.

The goal has always been and will always be health care that is affordable, effective and universal. If we can advance towards that goal, even without a public option, than it would be foolish to consider that a defeat.

Progressives have a nasty habit of letting their dreams define their optimism. If they don't achieve their dreams, they start to look around for someone to blame and often the ones they blame the most are those who fought the hardest for those goals but came up short. It creates a nasty cycle: activists who accuse politicians of being sellouts when they "fail" and politicians who won't push for anything, because they will always get blamed when they don't make it to 100%.

Really, with this kind of attitude, why bother?

I want single payer. I want a strong public option. But, more than that, I want advancement towards the goal of health care that is affordable, effective and universal. ANY movement made in that direction will be a victory.

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