Last night, President Obama stood up and laid it on the line when it comes to health care reform. He made his case clearly and eloquently and called out the distortions of the right, and of those business interests who oppose health care reform. He told the truth, and showed his determination to see reform through.
As I was reading the media coverage of his speech, I was especially focused on the President's calling out of the distortions and clear falsehoods that have become, somehow, involved in the debate. I fully expected Rep Joe Wilson to yell out something about "death panels" but it never happened.
I also thought as I watched President Obama speak, how many of the themes that he touched on also apply to the other big issue facing Congress between now and the end of the year, clear concrete action on clean energy, green jobs and global warming. In fact, when it comes to how the opposition to clean energy has played the game, it makes the health care reform debate look tame.
We are at a crucial and long-coming moment in time on clean energy; a bill passed the House before the summer recess and Harry Reid has promised a vote before the end of the year. The international community will gather at Copenhagen this December and it is critical that the United States lead the world into that conference, and not still be debating the bill here at home.
Like health care, the majority of Americans support clean energy. And no wonder.
In Pennsylvania, it was announced that the bill under consideration would save every household over $236 per year and add over 17,000 jobs.
Military leaders and veterans groups note that climate change is now a significant security issue and that it must be dealt with. A truly bipartisan group of leaders has called for action on this point alone.
One would think that with overwhelming scientific evidence and a broad coalition of supporters, clean energy would be headed for immediate and clear passage.
Sadly, it is not the case.
As with health care, there is opposition, the opposition of the well-funded minority willing to distort, lie, distract and do anything they can to delay action. It is a strategy that was taken directly from the playbook of the tobacco industry that discovered in the 1970s that when there is scientific consensus on an issue, in that case, that smoking causes cancer, there are always willing scientists who, for the right price, will deny the facts and create a distortion and delay in action.
Right now, today, major oil companies continue to fund the opposition, ensuring record profits for themselves in the process.
Right now, well-funded opposition groups are placing op-eds in papers all across the country. And paying companies to forge letters.
So, right now, we have to stand up, and we have to focus our attention on the US Senate.
Like all issues, it's not really the whole US Senate that we have to worry about, it's the handful of Senators who despite the facts, despite the widespread support from Americans, they are wavering, or at least looking like they are wavering.
Today, let's focus on two states and three Senators, Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Senators Webb and Warner from Virginia. While certainly there are other targets worthy of consideration, these three are critical to the passage of the bill.
So what can you do?
You can also follow the battle for Clean Energy here.
As noted on NRDC's Action Fund site, the battle for Clean Energy has heroes and it has villains.
Heroes include every Representative who stood up and voted yes last summer. You too can be a hero by making your voice heard.
And, sadly, the story has plenty of villains. People who didn't stand up and vote for the future of our country, and our planet, people who are willing to pay others to lie about what is actually happening, putting profit before planet, money before our collective future.
Last night, President Obama stood up and was a hero for everyone who needs health care, and health care reform.
Now it's our turn. Now is the moment.