A View from Across the Pond

It can be quite sobering to read international newspapers’ accounts of the U.S. health care conversation. All of this talk of death panels and euthanasia, forced abortions and abductions of fat children, seems even more absurd from the outside.

Gary Younge, a columnist for the Guardian newspaper in Britain, was in Raleigh Saturday at the Pro Health Reform rally and his account (published Sunday) provides one of these needed outside critical perspectives on the health care debate.

His column centers on the importance of political organizing in the health care debate. He argues that although the right has out-flanked reformers in recent weeks, the tide could be turning. He tells the story of the Durham4Obama organizing group, which over the last few months has transitioned from an Obama campaign meet-up to an independent political organizing group intent on exacting pressure on Obama, Sen. Kay Hagan, and anyone else necessary to pass real reform. This kind of grassroots, person-to-person organzing, Younge argues, is what is needed if health care reform is to succeed.

He writes:

The problem is not that the right were organised but that – with a few exceptions like Durham – the left has not been. At the very moment when [Obama] needed the “movement” that got him elected most, it appears to have largely stopped moving.

After reminding us of the raw human toll of the U.S. health care crisis (“Black infant mortality in Louisiana is on a par with Sri Lanka…[in] Washington DC, life expectancy is lower than the Gaza Strip”), Younge concludes that although health care reform can still be won, it will only happen if reform supporters ramp up their organizing and do the hard work of convincing members of the public.

He concludes:

A significant part of the country is desperate to be convinced and the battle for public opinion – which will ultimately determine how wavering congressmen vote – is finely balanced. “We’re not going to out-yell them,” says Fox. “So we have to out-organise them.”


  1. A View from Across the Pond

    August 31, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    […] More here:  A View from Across the Pond […]

  2. Alex

    August 31, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I agree the Pro Health Care Reform folks are not as mobilized. A major difference is the right is organized by Big lobbying groups with a lot of money. The same guys behind Joe the Plumber. The questions at town hall meeting everywhere are the same script. I hear people on the other side say they are not even there for Health care but against Obama,

    This is not a right or left issue its a problem for all Americans whether they know it or not. I am a Centerist but Multiple Sclerosis makes this real for me. I did not have to worry about health care until this year. I see more and more Americans heading to the tipping point. As Americans we row together or drown together.

  3. James

    August 31, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    One thing you can do today: Ask Senator Richard Burr to surrender the government health care plan he says he wants no part of.

    Sign the petition here. And thanks for spreading the word.

    PS If you’ve already signed, please sign again. This is a new petition without a typo. Thanks.

  4. Ron

    September 1, 2009 at 10:02 am

    America is a center – right country. This attempt to take over 17% of our economy with a gigantic, socialized bureaucracy is a far-left power grab completely unsupported by most Americans.

    As to the “raw human toll of the U.S. health care crisis (”Black infant mortality in Louisiana is on a par with Sri Lanka…[in] Washington DC, life expectancy is lower than the Gaza Strip”)” – is utter nonsense. There are certain groups in this country that fail to assume even the most basic responsibility for their own well-being and no amount of liberal spending is going to change this incompetence.

    The US has the best health-care in the world – and it’s on the verge of being destroyed by ideologues on a crazed crusade. God help us.

  5. IBXer

    September 1, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Have you seen the recent polls? And you say “the right has out-flanked reformers in recent weeks, the tide could be turning.”

    Hahahah, hehe, ho, ha!

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