James Zogby concisely makes a point I'd been thinking about through the whole course of the health care debate: the absurdity of the Republican claims that passing the reform bill somehow goes against the "will of the people." Excuse me, but it's us, the "people," who threw out the Republicans and elected a Democratic President and Congress. It's us, the "people," who, by and large, approve of the specific measures in the bill. Spot polls about huge, complex bills, taken in the wake of Tea Party hysterics and Republican Party-sanctioned fear-mongering, tell us only which way a fickle wind is blowing.
Whenever Republican leaders whine that the Democrats are going against the will of the people I'm personally offended. What am I, chopped liver? What are almost everybody I know, fois gras? What "people" are they talking about? Some of the people, that's who. Mostly the ones who voted for them, and did so in insufficient numbers. By no stretch of the imagination is this "the people." "The people" are multifaceted, and divided. In fact, no party, especially the minority, has the right to claim it alone speaks for "the people." That's infernal gall. But there's one thing we can say about "the people": practically all of us want health care reform.
Whenever Republican leaders (and conservative pundits) bewail "socialism" I'm personally offended. They're insulting my intelligence, and that of the millions of Americans who know the difference between socialism and social programs like Medicare and unemployment insurance.
Whenever these Republican (and a few Democratic) so-called leaders scream that the bill should have been scrapped in favor of "starting over" because it wasn't adequately debated, I'm nonplussed, and angered. For the past year it was impossible to avoid the national debate over this bill.
Fortunately, enough of the bill's measures go into effect quickly that a lot of people will notice quickly. It will start to sink in, a few months from now, that not only has the world not ended, but most of us are likely to see improvements in our health care system, if not this minute, then up ahead. Most Americans will then understand that this imperfect and unwieldy legislation is a huge and irreversible first step towards really, finally, fixing our incredibly broken health care system.