My Phone Call from Organizing for America: A Rant

by , posted on Tuesday, October 20th, 2009 at 9:00 pm

So it’s been a long few days. My company lost it’s biggest contract – the one I was assigned to for the balance of this year – last Wednesday. They are a governmental entity who shall remain nameless and their budget was cut by their state legislature. Bad news at casa Downtowner. Happened just as I was about to get on a plane to visit my daughter, son-in-law and 9 month old grand-daughter in Phoenix. So I went.

By the time I got there, one of my grand-daughters back here in Illinois was sick with the flu, and two days into the trip, my Mom (who lives in Florida, but was here in Illinois visiting my brother) was hospitalized with a wide array of symptoms, ranging from a blood infection to problems with her heart. So I’ll admit I was stressed already, but then I got the phone call…

Landed at Midway about 6:30 p.m., and on the way home from the airport I got a call on my cell from Organizing for America. The caller, a woman, asked if I could call my congresscritter – Bill Foster – this week about healthcare reform. I said I could and would, but had already visited his office and felt he really is on board with meaningful reform.

She said something like: “You did? You rock!” I said, yes I did and though I did not meet with him, I met for something like three hours with his in-district director and got the strong impression that he really means to support real reform.

She said something like “Really? You met with her for three hours?” I said yes, at least, we had a very long conversation.

Then this Organizing for America person asks me this:

“Can you tell me if Foster will vote for a healthcare reform bill if it lacks a public option?”

Ok. Like I said, I was already kinda stressed and I must admit I rather went off. I said if I got the merest hint he intended to I would be protesting that vociferously, then I gave the OFA person a quick rundown on the insurance industry’s attempts to kill me off for the last decade and said if it came down to mandates with no PO, I, for one, would be paying the fines before I would be paying the murderous butchers since I was pretty sure they would only use the cash to try to figure out new and more creative ways to kill people like me.

Fines to the government, at least, might help some citizen somewhere.

She said, well, she could understand with my personal history that I would feel “strongly” but we have to make “incremental progress” and its a start. Or some such bullshit along those lines.

At which point, stressed out me launched into Rant Part Two. About the fact that I’m a fucking PROGRESSIVE and a SINGLE-PAYER advocate for the love of God and the public option IS incremental progress, imho, whereas mandates without one are nothing but a) a giant giveaway to an industry that is doing its level best to kill off sick Americans as quickly as possible and b) political suicide for Dems. And also some stuff in there about my progressive single-payer advocate friends who already think I’m a bit of a sellout for not holding out for a pure single-payer bill and my thinking that the public option is the bare minimum we can do to get us started on a path to real reform.

She said something again about seeing that I felt strongly about this, and I said, yeah, you betcha and thanks, by the way for the heads up, for I shall now CERTAINLY be calling Foster this week and talking to him or whatever staffer I can get hold of about the importance of holding out for a public option at all costs.

Only now that I’m (kinda, sorta) calmed down, I can’t help wondering if I over-reacted, and am just paranoid. Perhaps it was just this particular person who happened to call me.

But this sure does stink to me like people at OFA trying to get a whip count on who will support a bill without a public option.


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