THE BLOG
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Where Are All the democrats in Congress ? Little "d" Intended

What's missing from the Health Care debate is an honest assessment of our system of government.

Democracy is defined by the Merriam-Webster online dictionary as "1a: government by the people especially rule of the majority, b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving free elections." By the time we get to the 5th definition, "the absence of hereditary or arbitrary class distinctions or privilege," U.S. style democracy is so far off the mark that it would be laughable if it weren't so sad.

The fact that the top 1% of Americans control more of the wealth (and the privilege wealth buys) than the remaining 95% leaves little doubt that the type of government, representative democracy, that the Founding Fathers chose for our young republic is but a distant dream that is no longer in evidence in the United States of America.

The raging war in Washington over health care reform, with many notable exceptions is not being waged by representatives of the people but representatives of the special interests that control Washington.

I don't believe for a minute that President Obama is not strongly in favor of a robust public option, the only alternative at this point that can guarantee to put a break on out of control costs and offer affordable health care for all. Yet he equivocates on the public option and makes huge concessions to Big Pharma and the insurance industry. Could it be that they simply have more power than he does at the negotiating table?

If the insurance industry and Big Pharma have their way with us and with our president who we elected to serve the interest of the common people, the middle class, "the majority" as articulated in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, then we as Americans have lost any semblance of self-determination.

Twenty two thousand Americans die every year due to inadequate health insurance. As alarming as this statistic is, it is also big red herring. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) estimates that 400,000 Americans die every year due to obesity, lack of exercise and poor nutrition. In addition the CDC cites that 64% of the U.S. population 20 years and older is obese. Not just a little chubby but clinically obese. Again, the majority (there is that word again) of Americans are at a higher risk of diabetes and heart disease (the number one killer of Americans) primarily due to what they eat.

Why are the 400,000 annual deaths of Americans not talked about in the context of health care reform? The answer is quite simply special interests, or more specifically the food lobbies, the sugar lobby, the corporate packaged goods lobbies, agra-business lobbies and their campaign contributions. These corporations and their special interest lobbies in Washington and their guardians, numerous members of the House of Representatives and the Senate have made this American tragedy not part of the debate.

We live in a country where 400,000 people die every year not from a disease but from what they eat and this is not considered relevant to health care reform? We need to root out all the Congresspersons who are beholden to these special interest groups and insist on far reaching campaign reform of a type not even contemplated that will restore our country to what the Founding Fathers envisioned and Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, "a government of the people, for the people, by the people," a democracy.