HOBOKEN, N.J. - I could make a long list of things I am disappointed about with Obama. His vigor in challenging the most venal aspects of the Bush administration, the wars, the torture, the Big Brother spying, the coddling of corporations and banks, has fallen way short of what his soaring rhetoric during the campaign might have led us to expect. I could go on and on, but that is not the purpose of this article. In a few days election day will come and we are facing an onslaught of sadly misled and manipulated Tea Partiers, funded, driven and brainwashed by billionaires intent on rolling back democracy and establishing unchallengeable corporate control over our country. These poor Tea Partiers are people with legitimate complaints and problems whose populist fervor has been channeled by cynical and sophisticated propagandists into supporting the same corporate powers who have marginalized them in the past and are intent on pushing them even further down if they consolidate control over the House of Representatives.
The Bush administration took the country from a moment of relative prosperity and fiscal health to an economic and social catastrophe. They started working intensely from the moment Bush took power to roll back every improvement in conditions for ordinary people, to consolidate power in the corporatocracy and relegate the rest of us to the sidelines, and eventually to the garbage heap of history. After eight years, when their wild, unregulated allies on Wall Street drove the country to the brink of what they themselves called the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression, power was passed from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party. And now the masses have forgotten who got us into this hole and are blaming the guy who took power a year and nine months ago.
I have watched as the Republican corporatists fought for the corporations at every turn and tried to stymie every possible improvement put forth by Democrats: the attempt to wrest the healthcare system from the control of a few profiteering corporations, the attempt to put controls and limits on the Wall Street money manipulators who drove the world to a deep economic collapse, attempts to extend unemployment benefits to people put out of work by the collapse, attempts to rebuild the infrastructure of the country, create jobs and stimulate the economy. The Republican corporatists have fought with lies, manipulations and huge infusions of money. My complaints with Obama have been that he didn't go far enough. He didn't fight hard enough against the corporate control of healthcare, against the Republican agents of corporate America. He didn't look out for the little guy enough, didn't push for enough of an economic stimulus. But my complaints have been drowned out in the sea of opposition from the opposite side. The confused Tea Partiers, who have been convinced by shadowy billionaires that healthcare reform means turning the US into a totalitarian state in which death panels will choose whether your grandmother has a right to live.
I have watched from the sidelines, gradually worn down by the false debate, which is designed to confuse and marginalize the masses. But there is one arena in this debate that has touched me personally and dramatically. Today I had planned to go to DC to attend the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear. I had my bus ticket and was all set to leave from Citi Field in Queens, N.Y., for Washington. But at the last minute I changed my plans. Yesterday my daughter went to the doctor and learned that she has a tumor on her thyroid. It will have to be removed and the prognosis is still uncertain.
My daughter is 24 and when she graduated from college she was knocked off my health insurance. She has worked a series of jobs, but none of them provide an opportunity to buy health insurance. She's young and healthy, not in need of a lot of doctor care. But without health insurance, she was reluctant to go to the doctor at all. She had discovered something in her throat, but if something was discovered while she didn't have insurance, it would become a "pre-existing condition" that would disqualify her from of ever getting it. Our family could easily join the ranks Americans bankrupted by medical costs.
When the healthcare reform bill was passed, I was glad some reform was passed, but very disappointed with how far it went. It didn't break up the corporate control of the healthcare system. It didn't end antitrust immunity for the predatory health insurance corporations who profit mightily from our medical misfortunes. The extension of Medicare to everyone, which was preferred by 60 percent of the population in polls, was never even put on the table. It was demonized as "socialized medicine" and people were made to fear it and fight against it on behalf of the health insurance cartel. We never even got a public option. The final bill that was passed included subsidies for the health insurance companies, who are to me at the root of the problem. But the bill did include one little provision that affected me personally. It forced the health insurance company to allow me to put my daughter on my policy. It's not free, I have pay for it. But without it she had no health insurance. Now she has it. She went to the doctor. She's going to get the help she needs. If the Republican corporate stooges had had their way, my daughter would not have health insurance now. I hate to think of how things would be for us now if the bill had not passed.
If the Republicans take control of the House they are planning to repeal the healthcare bill and to impeach Obama. God help us all, including those misguided Tea Partiers, if the Republicans take power again.