Today is "the day" in a year of landmark votes on healthcare reform. As I write this on Sunday morning, National Public Radio is predicting the vote on reform in the US House of Representatives will come within hours.
This has been a week of arm-twisting, media hype, dueling polls, rallies, e-mail blasts, and facebook posts from both pro- and anti-reform camps. My personal survival strategy was to not watch television and limit my talk radio listening. Ed Schultz spent much of the week pushing for passage of the reform legislation but vowing to fight for more reform until a single payer system is achieved. Amy Goodman of Democracy Now aired several stories throughout the week, including an nterviewed Congressman Dennis Kucinich after he agreed to vote for reform. Kucinich also vowed to keep pushing for a single payer system, saying this bill is just the first step.
I was impressed with President Obama's use of social media to get the pro-reform word out to supporters. Move On and Organizing for America sent thousands of e-mails urging reform advocates to call their representatives and senators and to rally for reform.
On Friday, March 19, several of us from the local Drinking Liberally club joined other progressives for a Move On rally in front of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' Tucson office. Approximately 150 reform advocates waved signs, cheered, and chanted. (They were joined by 3 anti-reform protesters.) Earlier in the week the Arizona Daily Star reported that Giffords and Congressman Raul Grijalva would both vote for reform today.
Hundreds of lunch-hour motorists cheered and honked as they passed the marchers. If honks were votes, I'd say that there is strong support for reform in Tucson. What will happen today? Who knows, but since Barack is one of my friends on facebook, I'm sure he'll post the news on his wall.
This article was originally published in my Progressive Examiner column. To see a slide show from the Tucson rally, click on the Examiner link.