THE BLOG

Majority Rule -- Majority Party Major Mistake

05/04/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

On March 3, 2010, the first minority president in U.S. history from the majority party gave his blessing to the majority party having a majority vote so they can pass legislation by majority rule. The minority party got upset that the majority party was going to have a majority vote to pass legislation by majority rule, even though the majority party's bill has been decimated, blocked and gutted by the minority party.

The absurdity of this didn't escape me or my listeners, as the show that followed that presidential speech shows. Nor did the time wasted in the last year, the year of debate, of tea party madness, of death panels, killing grandmothers, government takeover of health care and all the other lies that surfaced when the obstructionist party of "No" known as Republicans decided to shut the bill down not on the merits, but because of its authors: the majority party.

And now the majority party is doing what it could have done six months, 10 months, 12 months ago, getting something done by majority rule, the majority the people gave them out of frustration, out of a need for change, out of desperation. The people didn't want moderation, didn't want bipartisanship, didn't want a lot of "No's," they wanted action, they wanted solutions, real ones, they wanted help.

They're not getting it. Because as the majority president told the majority party that it was all right to pass a piece of legislation by majority rule the actual legislation itself doesn't address health care, only health insurance, and moves poor America or uninsured America really not one step closer to any immediate or lasting help. The bill is not a bill a majority president of a majority party really should be touting as an accomplishment; it's a bitter failure so mishmashed and rehashed it is just a tiny band-aid on the gushing wound of America's health crisis.

The majority president from the majority party would have kept the majority in Washington, D.C. if, six months ago, the majority party would have realized that the minority party has no interest in working with them, despises their commander-in-chief and for eight years showed a huge disrespect for the very people they govern through their often criminal but always harmful actions; Actions like using the majority vote for themselves to do things like give tax breaks to the very rich.

No, this call to action is way too little way too late. The majority president of the majority party would have won many supporters if a public option was in the final bill. They would have actually worked on solving the problem if they had used the majority vote of the majority party to bring medicare for all to the U.S.; a simple buy in program for Americans to buy in to the existing health insurance company owned and operated by them already.

In fact, the majority president of the majority party could stop 45,000 Americans from dying, or over 130,000, by enacting medicare for all effective in 2011 and rolling out from there. Instead, the majority president by majority vote will use majority rule to enact a bill that allows those 130,000 to die over the next three years while the nation waits for insurance companies to adjust to the new changes and find ways to deny, pillage and financially fleece Americans with impunity once more. The majority president by the majority vote will use majority rule to enact a bill that will still let over 1.8 million people fall in to bankruptcy because of health care expenses prior to any reform taking place.

In other words, the majority president, by majority vote with access to majority rule could act swiftly and urgently to stop death and bankruptcy across the land, but the one thing that is absent from the majority is urgency. This is all legislation, not people. It's a political failure or victory, not a lifeline to the people.

Because in all of this the majority party and the majority president have made it clear that they will heed the words of the minority party and their people more than sticking to their own platform and values. Because all parties see Americans not as people, but as an unfunded liabilities, as consumers or as revenue generators for the corporations that actually make the rules and line the pockets of the powers that be. We are an expense to be paid, consumers to be protected, revenue streams to be lined up and made to feed in to some insurance company or else a tax will be levied and we will be law breakers. Again, not people. Violators. People responsible for a tax.

All parties have forgotten that people are attached to the bills. Each party finds thousands of dead or bankrupt Americans acceptable, just a percentage point in a balancing act. We'll cover 90%, 80%, 95%...talking about the remaining 10% or 20% or 5% as a small number for which all should be grateful isn't larger. All but the 30 million (10 percent of America), 60 million, 15 million, whatever the number...it's people that will die or suffer. It's not a margin of error. It's not an "acceptable" amount. To some patriotic Americans, myself included, 100% coverage, zero preventable deaths is the only workable equation.

But patriotism and morality are costly. To let one American die from lack of access to health care is immoral. To make money a key issue in the debate about making American's healthy, and protecting companies whose time has come and gone (medical insurance companies, it's painfully obvious they've run their course and must go) is not only unpatriotic but it is un-American. The minority party wrapped itself in the flag so tightly prior to Iraq that the stars were imprinted on the flesh and anyone that spoke against it, or war funding, were un-American. I know, I was called that very thing daily on air at that time. Not supporting single payer at a time when 45,000 Americans are casualties of the public's war with big insurance shows an allegiance to corporate constituents and a betrayal of the American citizens they serve.

So the minority president from the majority party has given the majority party permission to rule by majority vote. It's a shame he didn't give them permission to actually do something, like scrap the 2000 pages and bring fourth 17 words through majority vote that would truly reshape America: All American Citizens shall have all one policy that covers all medical necessities from birth until death. Let the minority party that claims to be good a finances figure out how to pay for it (even if a war or two has to be trimmed back or stopped) and get it done.

And the sad part is that this will be one of the few times the majority president will instruct the majority party to rule by majority vote. Because he, and the party, didn't do this sooner, because they didn't do it with anything of real substance, a majority of voters in the usually smaller turnout midterms will remember their inaction and then when they finally acted the weak policies and insurance mandate that they passed by majority rule and they will, I'm afraid, become the minority again.

And then, the minority president from the minority party will have to sit back and watch what the then majority party will do with impunity, without bipartisanship and by their majority vote: they will rule, they will push their agenda through, no matter how horrible or destructive; agendas like wars, patriot acts, tax breaks for the wealthy. No, they are not afraid to do it, and when they do, they're not afraid to be bold.

A majority of Americans want affordable (or free) access to health care, an end to war, new energy policies, reinvention in most areas of government. A majority of Americans went to the polls and sent that message in 2008. It's a shame the minority party has prevented that by majority party forgetting they are, in fact, a majority. And when they remember, it's a shame that their big, bold act of an up or down vote is wasted on reforms that a majority of people don't want or need, and the public option, the single payer, the solutions and those that support them have been treated like the minority.

The pendulum will swing, and when it does, we're the ones that keep getting cut by it. But, under this bold move, we'll still have to bleed for three years, and then bleed while we navigate the new changes and by the time we actually get some kind of new mandated coverage the blood loss may be so severe that a trip to the hospital useless. And when the pendulum swings back and the minority party becomes the majority, that swing will sever America in two.