On the Senate floor Tuesday morning, Roland Burris (D-Ill.) chose an unusual way to demonstrate his support for health care reform legislation emerging in the Senate, despite his previous threats to oppose any bill that lacked a strong public insurance option.
The medium he chose to deliver the message: poetry.
"As this debate draws to a close and my colleagues and I prepare to vote on a health care reform bill, I recognize the long hours and tense negotiation have left some nerves and tempers frayed," Burris said.
"That's why I come to the floor today. Although our work keeps us away from our family and friends for much of this holiday season, I see no reason why we can't share good cheers with one another right here in Washington. So in the spirit of the season, Mr. President, I would like to share my own version of a classic holiday story with my good friends on both sides of the aisle. And it goes something like this":
Mr. President: It was the night before Christmas
It was the night before Christmas, and all through the Senate
The right held up our health care bill, no matter what was in it
The people had voted a mandated reform
But Republicans blew off the gathering storm
We'll clog up the Senate, they cried with a grin
And in the midterm elections, we'll get voted in
They knew regular folks needed help right this second
But fundraisers, lobbyists and politics beckoned
So try as they might, Democrats could not win
Because the majority was simply too thin
Then across every state there rose such a clatter
The whole senate rushed out to see what was the matter
All sprang up from their desk and ran from the floor
Straight through the cloakroom and right out the door
And what in the world would be quite so raucous?
But a mandate for change from the Democratic caucus
The president, the Speaker, of course Leader Reid
Had answered the call in our hour of need
More rapid than eagles, the provisions they came
And they whistled and shouted and called them by name
Better coverage, cost savings, a strong public plan [sic]
Accountable options. We said, 'Yes, we can.'
No exclusions or changes for preexisting conditions
Let's pass a bill that restores competition
The Democrats all came together to fight
For the American people that Christmas Eve night
And then in a twinkle, I heard under the dome
The roll call was closed, and it was time to go home
Despite the obstructionist tactics of some
The filibuster had broken, the people had won
And a good bill was ready for President Obama
Ready to sign and end health care drama
Democrats explained as they drove out of sight
Better coverage for all, even our friends on the right.