We find ourselves today at the the start of a new year and, as it would happen, at the beginning of a new decade. Many of us (myself included) find ourselves compelled to make promises regarding behavioral changes in our lifestyles and habits. So often, though, these so-called resolutions are half-heartedly attempted or completely neglected.
The actuality of resolutions is that they are generally created as a way to get someone else to simply shut up. They don't hold a personal motivation and, therefore, are easily discarded.
As 2010 starts its meandering march toward day 365, a significant number of Progressives (many of us registered Democrats) are in a state of limbo. We've been banished from the fruits of a promised land but not quite relegated to the torments of Hades. The feeling is emotionally unsettling.
In 2008 I put all my eggs in Barack Obama's basket of hope and change. At the start of 2009 I waited with wide-eyed anticipation for the metamorphosis to begin. Today I remain in waiting.
I was promised a complete overhaul of the way a government conducts its affairs. No more kowtowing to the interests of corporate lobbyists. In fact no lobbyists were to be permitted on the White House staff. Our legislation was going to be earmark-free, and the ways of government were to become transparent.
Needless to say the first 100 days of the Obama administration took a heavy toll on the Progressive movement, upon whose coattails our president rode into the Oval Office. I (and many others) remained hopeful and thus willing to see what the first year of Barack Obama's presidency would bring. After all, the numerous promises regarding Health Care Reform were what brought a large percentage of our number on board.
The key issues of Health Care Reform (soon to be referred to by President Obama as Health Insurance Reform) as espoused by candidate Obama were:
1. A Public Option
2. No individual mandates forcing people to buy insurance
3. Allowing importation of pharmaceuticals from other countries
4. Allowing Medicare to negotiate for cheaper drug prices
5. Affordable premiums, co-payments and deductibles
As it stands the House of Representatives and the Senate have both passed legislation purporting to be Health Care Reform. Both of these abominable bills ignore most (the House bill) if not all (the Senate bill) of the above. These bills were created with the overwhelming influence of Health Care Industry lobbyists. Even though the two bills still need to be merged, Senate Democrats have already threatened to kill the legislation if the language of their bill changes appreciably.
In other words (as true Progressives see it), we will be stuck with reform (which isn't reform at all) that was written by the very institutions we wanted to see reformed. That is a kick in the teeth. How anyone can consider this process democratic is beyond my comprehension.
Our president, who ran on a platform of hope and change as well as government transparency, brokered behind-the-scenes deals with the Health Care Insurance industry and the Pharmaceutical industry before and during the legislative process. Not only does this constitute a plethora of broken promises, it is also the ultimate betrayal of trust.
To someone who has grown up as part of a “Won't Get Fooled Again” generation, President Obama's deceit is doubly insulting. He seduced us with saccharine syllables styled specifically to say what we all so desperately wanted to hear. Once in office he divorced himself from his progressive pretensions and left real Progressives twisting in the wind.
The reality is this: the Democrats and the Republicans are two horses owned by the same stable. The Democratic victory in 2008 allowed them the inevitable spoils, but they are being greedy (having been out of the money for 8 years) and unabashedly obvious about it. The Health Care Reform process was deftly orchestrated, and that makes me feel ashamed.
The President and the Democratic Party have let me down. Their actions have been egregious and condemnable. My 2010 resolution is (after 37 years) to disassociate myself from the Democratic Party. I'll be paying a visit shortly to the Levy County courthouse to ally myself with a progressive political party called the Green Party of the United States. This, I feel, will allow me in good conscience to pursue my goals of progressive change.