From CBS News - - President Obama on Tuesday said he would "rather not wade into" the issue of whether or not health care reform should include federal funding for abortions.The president told CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric that he is "not trying to micro-manage what benefits are covered."My reply - If you're in charge you tell your subordinates what is on - and off the table for negotiation. You don't leave it up to the whims of others."I'm pro-choice, but I think we also have the tradition in this town, historically, of not financing abortions as part of government-funded health care," he said, adding: "My main focus is making sure that people have options of high quality care at the lowest possible price."If you are in support of something you should be all-in. There are no ifs, ands or buts. In trying to get this health care plan -which is now being called a health insurance plan passed, if it's nearly gutted and ineffective it's DOA for all of us non-politicians who don't have their plan. Or their cheap rates.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
While Obama Gives Lip-Service To Our Reproductive Rights We Must Communicate More Effectively With Our Elected Officials
The following note I'm enclosing at the bottom of this post was a response to the Feminist Advisory Board for Obama regarding a letter that was sent to the President asking for a public statement denouncing the murder of Dr. Tiller. A form letter response was sent with a generic "thank you" but it was non-committal. Like race relations (the denial of racism, anger over accountability) control over a woman's reproductive rights is constantly being challenged. Usually it's by the same people - except for some fools who work against their own interests. This is part of a larger movement from those armed and racist who want to want to see women chained to the house and blacks sent back to Africa. After his huge mistake defending black woman betrayer/hater Skippy Gates don't expect President Obama to say anything that will further incite the angry white men with guns. In fact he has flipped from his earlier decision to lift the ban on abortion funding by letting the fundamentalists (which includes Democrats) dictate the terms of our healthcare coverage.
Coming on the heels of the most recent vote by the House Energy and Commerce Committee to pass an amendment excluding abortion services from the "essential" health benefits package as defined by the government it would seem Obama is NOT IN SUPPORT OF ABORTIONS for any woman who can't pay for one. So low-income workers, immigrants, youth and the usual marginalized population are going to be (*&$ out of luck unless some private funding will cover these costs. What's next on the chopping block....birth control pills?
We have so many forces in opposition to any progress we must strategize how we approach tackling them. Our goals must be firm. We're going to have to FIGHT people because they are not giving an inch. Obama doesn't have our backs any more than his backside is being covered. He will cave unless we make it a disadvantage for him to do so. Here is one suggestion on how to approach politicians that I think may prove useful:
"Don't read too much into the response you got to your letter. Most congressional offices have standard replies as well. The best way to get a more personal response is to put more than one issue into a letter that you write. Still, more than likely some staff member is writing that letter due to the number of letters members of congress get and I assume that the Presidency is the same way.
I have to say having interned in a congressional and a senate office has deterred me from writing letters and even signing many petitions non-anonymously to it because I know how these offices process the information and I ALMOST completely agree with their methods - they get so much mail and petitions that its hard to deal more personally with what they receive. But, I do wish that more members would read at least some constituent letters and maybe even choose to respond to a few - from my knowledge I know of some members who respond to Tweets and FaceBook messages but unsure about older forms of communication. I have heard that the President does read like 3 letters a day to keep himself grounded (his words). So I don't know if we should give up on letters completely.
Honestly, I have not found an effective method of reaching out to my representatives. The best I have observed is trying to get a meeting with that member or a staff person and doing so constantly. This is hard though because if you get on their "bad side" they do not take your issues seriously. So I'm still trying to figure this out myself. Also with the President its not like you can get a meeting with the POTUS with out donating money to his party and winning that random drawing to have "Lunch with Obama."
To close, didn't expect to say all this, maybe we as a group can organize to meet with our representatives in person during recess sessions - especially summer recess - in the future over an issue. Also, many members participate in local events at this time and it is the best way to try to connect with them (but I am also from a small state that if you are somewhat involved in any industry the member covers you have met and interacted with them. So they are generally more responsive). Anyway, I do think that especially in the age with all of this technology, that nothing beats face to face.
P.S. So of course now I remember a way that may be more effective - Doing a policy memo as to why a member or in this case, the President, should support an issue. In the case of congress, their staffers need to do this to their member to co-sponsor a piece of legislation. The letter is short and basically builds a case as to why they should support a bill based on both the merits of the bill and how the bill will benefit/affect the people in their state. I would try this angle - you still may get a form letter back but you may get a staffer that may care enough to either forward this on to the member or tweek it a bit and try to convince their member to co-sponsor that piece of legislation - especially since a lot of the leg work is done for them. Final statement I promise - getting to know staff members in key offices is help ful and probably the best method - it works for the lobbyists." -- from DNMP Politico