The President suggested in his speech after the healthcare vote that “this is what change looks like,” referring to his campaign slogan. Well, Mr. President, I can personally assure you that this was not the change people thought they were getting when they voted for you.
You promised open government and the elimination of secret deals with elected officials and the special interests. Instead, you helped pass this bill through secret offers designed to bribe politicians from Nebraska, Florida, Louisiana, Connecticut and Michigan. You signed a special deal with lobbyists from the health insurance companies to convince them to hold their objections.
You promised to act in a bipartisan manner, to usher in an era of civility in Washington that had been missing during the Bush and Clinton years. Yet, for the first time in American history, you pushed through a massive, overwhelmingly significant piece of legislation without any kind of bipartisan support. In addition to not having even one Republican vote for it, you had 34 of your own party members vote against it!
Most egregiously, you were elected, Mr. President, because you listened to the people. You promised to be a Washington outsider, someone who would put the people’s wishes over your personal political ambitions. Instead Mr. President, you arrogantly ignored the consistent 55 percent of polled Americans who reject your bill.
Furthermore, you disrespected them by saying that they are not informed enough to have a strong opinion; that their ignorance will be washed away, and the benefits of this bill revealed, if only they listened to you better.
As pictures of the celebrating elites in Washington were released, drinking champagne and celebrating how they had ignored the will of the American people in a way our political system was specifically designed to prevent, I could not help but smile.
Mr. President, through passing this bill you indeed saved America. You have awakened all Americans to the dangers of letting insulated elites run this country, of letting spin trump truth. Most of all, you have sent Americans a clear reminder of the importance of voting and the cost of not doing so.
So Mr. President, I encourage you to show up at election precincts on Nov. 2, because all across America you will witness the true accomplishment of your bill. On that day, that 55 percent will finally be heard.
Danny Hanlon is a senior majoring in political science. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.