"Without a Single Republican Vote"

Monday, May 17, 2010

With much difficulty and a few concessions, President Obama was finally able to pass a reform of healthcare legislation, where many generations and several former U.S. presidents had failed. The law increases access to healthcare to over 30 million U.S. citizens who cannot afford private medical insurance. But it is sad to admit that the immense influence of insurance companies has created a situation in which the more fortunate show little solidarity for those who aren’t.

I am quite perplexed and rather ashamed of blind obedience to party politics. “Party discipline” must be limited by conscience and by respect for values and human rights, which are so often on the tongues but less so in the hearts of those who, in order to preserve what they deem essential, should learn how to transform that which is not.

How was it possible, as was the case in Spain, to blindly vote in favor of the invasion of Iraq, based on lies, but as a “matter of discipline”, when I know for a fact that many who did so did not agree or had problems of conscience?

With these strict and obstinate conditions, bridges of concord and good governance will never be built between opposing groups in Washington or in Madrid.

But “representatives” of the people should be aware that in a few years the people –who are still so distant and so often ignored- will no longer accept incongruities of this nature, especially when they violate the most prized ethical principles.

People will no longer continue to observe in silence “what is going on,” “what they are doing"...

Let the parliamentarians of both here and there take note. Listen continually to your constituents, because if you don’t you will soon be “cut free”, having lost the links and support that citizens, disillusioned with the way laws are passed, can no longer give you... especially when they later discover that the essential rule of democracy is ignored: respect for the results.

And I say this because what is worse than having been passed “without a single republican vote”, is that some states governed by conservatives threaten not to implement the law. And the same situation exists in our own country with the “rebellion” preached by certain ultraconservative leaders.

A few years ago I wrote these verses about the “silent representatives of the people": "they merely seek / to remain / silent, / unnoticed, / pale, / in their stuffed / chairs. / They won’t lift / their voices / nor their eyes..."

I hope with all my heart that the “Obamas” in the world are successful and that once aware of citizens’ imminent reaction, parliamentarians will finally decide to vote on key issues according to the dictates of their conscience. Then they will learn how good that feels.