THE TRUMPCARE BATTLE WAS A WIN FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE
By: KAREN KAST-MCBRIDE
No offense to the Democratic leadership, but I have to say the following:
The truth is that Democrats, whether in office or just involved with committees like the DNC, did not lead the fight to save the additional 24 Million people who would have lost health insurance coverage under the Republicans’ American HealthCare Act (AHCA) aka “Trumpcare” by keeping their Affordable Care Act (ACA) aka “Obamacare.” Many of the Democratic politicians, and the DNC – a few exceptions i.e. Senators Sanders (not a Dem!), Warren, Representatives Schiff, Swalwell, Lieu and a few others, quite honestly had been dragging their feet on everything since the astonishing defeat of Clinton by Trump. What was mostly happening right after the defeat of Hillary was a continuation of the finger-pointing and divisiveness among Democratic (and Dem leaning) voters instead of trying to figure out what really happened.
While many voters were fighting and snarling, others got to work. The day after Hillary’s defeat the real groundswell of activism that has now taken the nation by storm began. On November 9, 2016 the first event page was created for a march on Washington scheduled for the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration. By the next morning, November 10th, over 10,000 people had already signed on to take part in the event which coalesced into a nationwide, then worldwide, movement known as the Women’s March on Washington.
The Women’s March was amazing to take part in here in Boston, and from all accounts, everywhere it took place – not just in America, but across the world in what was the largest global protest in history. Additionally, all of the marches were peaceful and there were no arrests.
The Women’s March was phenomenal and allowed everyone with concerns and issues regarding Trump to have a voice and stand together all at once. It should be noted that it was not a Democratic movement – people from every political group took part together peacefully. Amazing political pundits across the nation, Dem politicians suddenly found their voices and quickly jumped onto the bandwagon once they realized how much energy there was behind the movement. That latter point is what has led us to my rant here today.
Since politics is one of my interests, and has been since I was young, I was watching very closely from the first day to see how long it would take for the Democratic party elite, politicians, groups and the usual suspects to jump in and attempt to take the lead in this amazing movement. It didn’t take long, especially once celebrities started signing up to speak and perform.
I want to give major kudos to organizers, especially those in D.C., who were able to retain most of the control at the march and afterward.
From the Women’s March through to the present, it has been amazing to watch the amount of civic engagement which has sprung up with and without any planning. From Trump’s first week in office, especially starting with the first travel ban, we have seen that the American people are fired up and ready to fight for our beliefs and country, within a moments notice.
Part of the reason for the energy is, in my opinion, only partially due to Trump’s agenda and the horrible things we all learned about him throughout the campaign. It has actually been building for years; Trump was just the final catalyst.
We the people have been held hostage for years, by the partisan nature of both parties. We have watched as time and time again, those we elect get to the office they are elected to, at local and federal levels, and seem to forget whom they work for, who put them there, and who they will answer to for their choices. And we the people end up screwed in one form or another, all while we watch the same politicians head back to their offices despite their broken promises.
Don’t get me wrong, unlike the man currently inhabiting the White House, we the people also need to admit that our own complacency, lack of interest in anything beyond our small bubble, and yes, laziness, factored into our country’s descent to where we are now. We the people failed to bother to learn about the complexities of the laws and regulations, policies and decisions, being made in our name. By doing so we the people allowed our politicians to do what they wanted regardless of the final impact on our neighbors, ourselves and the country. And we the people ourselves seemed to have forgotten that those in public office, whether locally or nationally, really serve at the pleasure of… the people, inclusive of the President.
We the people are not customers or clients of this country or politicians; you do not get to decide what we want without our input; and you do not get to ignore our demands. We the people are the employers, and this is a wake-up call for all of you in political office: you all serve at the pleasure of us, the people of America – and yes, that includes Donald Trump.
As evidenced by recent actions across the nation, we the people have remembered the above and everything is changing. The Republicans pulling Trumpcare on Friday before it could go to a floor vote in the House is the latest win for the resistance. Contrary to the messaging I am hearing from the majority of the media and politicians, the resistance’s Trumpcare win was not our first win. It was the first legislative win, yes, but it was only the latest win with regard to Trump and GOP agendas. Casually dismissing the earlier wins and ongoing battle are condescending and dangerous for those who continue to do so.
Most of the winning, along with the continuing battles and those to come, are happening due to the intense activism of the “regular” people. People from every race, culture, background and level, who have dropped everything to rush to airports to protest illegal immigration bans, come together to fight for the protection of every person, whether you are a refugee, immigrant, LGBTQIA, child, adult, senior or however you self identify. We are even fighting over the right for Transgender students to use the bathroom of the gender they identify as, for fucks sake – something which was settled until Trump ordered the withdrawal of the previous guidance on same.
This activism by the resistance has kicked our politicians into gear, the GOP quite reluctantly. Though when the time came with Trumpcare, the Democrats and some Republicans finally seemed to get it that we the people are serious and would support actions opposing it – just as we will with regard to the SCOTUS issue. So it would be nice if all of our politicians would be honest in giving credit where credit is due and not tout the win as a Democratic party win.
Taking backhanded credit for it, attempting to raise funds for your personal campaigns, gloating about the “Democratic” win, are not acceptable. We the people had to push all of our politicians to either stand with us and do what we the people want done, or realize that we are not going away and will remember your decisions at the next election.
And to the Republicans who control the House and Senate, let’s be clear: your continued obstruction of an independent investigation into Russia’s attack on our democracy and possible Trump team collaboration, and your insistence on jamming through all of the GOP agenda items and Trump’s nominees will be the “death spiral” of your career as politicians. Accessories after the fact may be only the beginning of the charges once we the people have our voices fully heard.
There are many battles still ahead of us in this war to save the American democracy. I urge everyone to continue to resist, stand up and fight back, especially those in Republican states. I honestly don’t care what your political affiliation is, if you really love America, then it is time to stand together for the fundamental values, beliefs and rights that have made USA the world leader when it comes to democracy.
This article was republished by permission of its author, originally at My American Voice