Pressuring Obama to Make the Right Decision on Health Care is AlterNet's Top Campaign of the Week
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Although pressure for a public health care option continues to emanate from all corners of America ( 72 percent of citizens now support a public option; 85 percent agree that our system needs a radical overhaul), it's still unclear whether the Obama administration will use its immense political capital to do what's necessary.
President Barack Obama's approval ratings remain at a strong 62 percent, but his rhetorical waffling continues to cast doubt on the future of America's most important domestic issue.
Last Tuesday, Obama sent his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to the Senate, carrying the message that the president is "open to alternatives" other than a public option. Meanwhile, so-called moderate Democrats like former South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle and California's Sen. Dianne Feinstein, rather than throwing their support behind a plan that three-fourths of the country supports, have tirelessly concocted doubts and bankrupt "alternatives."
It's clear that the only thing standing in the way of meaningful reform is a bloated lobby -- one accustomed to steering the conversation in whatever direction it deems fit.
Allowing this monopolistic control to continue is not just financially unsustainable -- it contradicts our country's claims that democratic consensus overrides elite interests.
We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to a system that, if unchanged, will leave 52 million people uninsured by next year. We cannot let a lack of coverage be the reason 22,000 more people perish before 2010. Above all else, we cannot continue to drop our hard-earned dollars into a swirling drain of bureaucratic greed and ineptitude.
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean is among the many in support of a public health option, and he has put together an organization designed to mobilize progressive support. Standwithdrdean.com allows citizens like you to urge policymakers to vote down any health care legislation that doesn't include a public option.
"Legislation rises and falls," Dean argues, "on whether the American public is allowed to choose a universally available public option or not." Standing with Dean, who also is a physician, means joining nearly 400,000 others who refuse to wallow in the mires of "middle ground" politicking.
This won't happen without your support. After all, Obama's "urge to compromise," Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman notes, "will lead him to negotiate with himself, and give away far too much." It's up to us to see that he doesn't.
Here are the rest of our Take Action campaigns for the week:
II -- End Mountaintop-Removal Mining
Mountaintop-removal mining is an environmentally devastating process that strips forests bare, displaces families and empties millions of gallons of toxic sludge into usable waterways.
The Obama administration has done much to roll back mountaintop-removal mining's devastating advance, but the recovery process is still in its nascent stages. It's imperative that you join the fight.
Join what Robert F. Kennedy Jr. recently called "the first broad congressional initiative aimed at reversing the Bush administration's eight-year effort to savage our national waterways and the popular laws that protect them."
Write to your senators and tell them that no source of energy is worth the price we're currently paying. You can do it here.
III -- Demand Justice for Troy Davis
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to consider a last-ditch hearing on Troy Davis' case. There are only two days before the court takes its summer recess.
Despite there being no physical of evidence of his guilt -- despite seven of the nine eyewitnesses who testified against him reversing their testimony -- Davis is about to have his last chance. If the appeal is denied, his case will fall back into the hands of District Attorney Larry Chisolm in Savannah, Ga., who ran on a platform to "increase the sense of fairness" in his office.