29 October 2009

My letter to Joe Lieberman today

Dear Senator Lieberman,
I am writing to you, as a national constituent (since Senators represent all Americans as well as their own state constituents), to urge and implore you in the strongest possible terms to reconsider and reverse your unwarranted threat -- for that is what it is -- to derail the most important element of the Democratic political agenda this year: meaningful health care reform.

As you must know, 68% of your own state's voters favor a public insurance option. The majority of all voters nationwide... about 55%... favor this policy. The VAST majority of Democrats, the party with whom you caucus and which welcomed you to keep your committee positions even after you supported the Republican presidential nominee against the election of our president, favor this policy. There is some point at which the people's representatives, even in the more deliberative body, must, to legitimately fulfill their duties, accede to the wishes of the people, and not substitute for it their own more narrowly construed interests. That point is at hand. Please, sir, for once, respect the wishes of the voters and not those of special interests.

You have stated that you intend to block a straight vote on a bill which contains this public insurance provision. Not just vote against it, but use the arcane rules of the Senate to foil majority rule and block it. This, even after you went on record on numerous occasions in the past deploring the use of the filibuster except in the most dire circumstances. You even joined with Republicans to circumvent its use to the advantage of President Bush's efforts to stack the courts with Rightist judges.

I appeal to the Democrat in you. You once worked for Senator Kennedy... John F. Kennedy, yet here you stand poised to destroy the life work of his brother, the "Lion of the Senate," Edward Kennedy, by foiling the clear will of the majority of Americans, to finally, at long last, achieve comprehensive health care reform. Our country needs this reform desperately. We cannot wait years. 45,000 Americans die each year due to lack of health care, and 22,000 are forced into bankruptcy because of medical bills, something which happens in no other advanced nation. Not France. Not Germany. Not South Korea or Taiwan. Not Israel. Not Canada. Only the United States. This is a legacy of shame which we must end, and it would be tragic if it were Joe Lieberman who stood in the way.

Vote against this bill if you feel you must, but please do not, for once, impose your personal views, against the better judgment of more than two thirds of your own constitutents, to prevent democratic government from working to enact the will of the people. Do not, sir, I implore you, prevent this legislation from being considered for passage by the majority of the Senate, and if it passes, then it should be accepted as the will of the people, a sacred trust.

Sir, do you REALLY, in the end, want your legacy to be "Say No, Joe, who killed health care reform"? Is that what you really want?

Thank you.

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