I am writing this to various Congressmen who are, as of now, against a public option.
Dear Senator: I am writing you now after Senator Kennedy’s death to appeal to what, I think, is our common ground. When I was a young woman at Boston University in 1968, I heard Senator Kennedy speak. He told an audience of young people who sported often very long hair that some would have to cut their hair if they were going to credibly reach out to persuade the American public. I think that experience then defined Senator Kennedy for me. He was about the art of compromise so that adversaries could be persuaded. Some in the audience booed at his suggestion. Much later, as a mature adult, I saw exactly what he meant. It is in that spirit of understanding that I appeal to you now.
Our Constitution is our guide to fair play. It is our compass to show us the way to govern. It has been, though, at times, opaque and has forced our nation to make choices as to the role of government. When should go vernment act and when should it not have been our history’s conundrum.
In the politics of this era those sides have become divided as the Democratic and Republican parties retreat to their separate corners. Many, of course, think that government should play a very limited role in the life of the governed. Others, at critical times in our history, have seen government as the vehicle, the only vehicle, capable of addressing often life and death issues of a nation. In this time of combined health care and economic crises government must act to provide the life jacket for a suffering people.
There is no doubt that the concerns of reducing our federal deficit and enormous debt are of consequence. Our country, however, is obviously different than the Founders envisioned. A country of over 300 million people demands government oversight. Class distinctions are widening significantly and cannot be left to just simply work themselves out. Se nator Kennedy believed that providing health care reform with a strong public option would help, among other things, provide our country a systemic as well as an economic lifeboat which ultimately would help bring the soaring deficit down . He believed that by providing life-saving health care for all we could help save our nation from further economic catastrophe in the process.
I urge Republicans and Democrats alike who are against health care reform with a strong public option to rethink your position and join with your colleagues who support it to pass the kind of health care reform that Teddy Kennedy worked so very hard for nearly all of his life in the Senate to do. As former colleagues and friends of Senator Kennedy I fervently ask you to support his version of health care reform so that, finally, on this issue at this time we can join together and find some common ground to provide for the general welfare and the common defense of our nation as our Constitution instructs.