This past weekend, grannies marched in the second annual women's march here in Philadelphia. We encountered women and men of all ages and ethnicities yearning for justice and equality. As a peace group, our mission is to advocate for the peaceful resolution of issues and to seek justice for ourselves and those without a voice. Women are learning to have a voice with those who would silence them for their own gain. We hope that participants and observers will take away from the march that we each have daily opportunities to stand in our truth and speak out. This could mean stating a counter opinion to your boss at a staff meeting or refusing unwelcome sexual advances. While there are surely degrees of abuse and injustice there is also opportunities, every day, in a thousand "small" decisions we each make, to set the climate for justice or injustice for the whole of humanity. It is up to us. We are part of creating the tipping point in every word we speak or do not speak and in everything we do and do not do. We are the rock thrown into the water that will ripple out in all directions in ways we cannot imagine. What are some things you want to do or stop doing to bring justice and peace now and for future generations?
We are still working for health care as a human right rather than a privilege or a commodity to be sold to those who can pay. Denial of basic human rights is the worst type of violence. It can go unnoticed or justified by lawmakers who claim providing universal coverage would be a step towards socialism. The Pew Research Center reports that 60% of Americans now support a single payer system, while only 39% feel that the government should not be involved in health care. This clear majority has stood firm in this belief since January 2017.
The United States now lags behind eleven developed countries, ahead of the U.S. in both economic freedom and the achievement of universal coverage. HealthCare 4 All, a Pennsylvania based citizen movement working to ensure health care for all people, is working to reverse this trend. Activists from across the state will be joining together on Saturday, December 2, 2017, from 5-7 PM, in the Chapel of Arch Street Methodist Church (55 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia), to discuss recent victories and plan future efforts. There are victories happening opponents don't want anyone to know about. Check out this website to learn how other states are leading the way in this effort.
Many obstacles remain, most notably the enormous cost of a medicare for all system. Proposals to tax corporations and the wealthy, or to close tax loopholes are often shut out of the mainstream political discourse. Most states are implementing a payroll tax to pay for the coverage, which will likely erode support from an already strapped middle class.
Finally! Imagine... leaving a job and not having to pay COBRA or worry about doing without healthcare if you lose your job. Imagine NOT having to take a job you hate just to have health insurance. During an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on March 24, Bernie Sanders, the outreach chair of the Democratic Party, announced that he will re-introduce a single-payer health care bill. “We have got to have the guts to take on the insurance companies and the drug companies and move forward to a Medicare-for-all single-payer program. I will be introducing legislation shortly to do that.” Get ready to call your elected officials as this is going to be a BIG fight!!!!! This is our chance as a progressive movement to finally get health care for all Americans. The CEOs of big pharma and insurance companies are going to fight to the death because its there jobs and fortunes at stake so get ready, get ready, get ready! Please use our elected officials page to find your representatives and start calling now for a single payer system. This is our moment!!!!!
The women's march has come and gone but the work is just beginning. I don't know about you but I feel overwhelmed. Just days after the march, I am inundated with requests to send letters to Congress and call legislators about this or that issue. Every few minutes I see another email or Facebook notification to sign a petition or join a new progressive organization. At one point, I was feeling so overwhelmed, I just sat and stared straight ahead like a deer caught in headlights.
Then it dawned on me. I can just do one thing at a time! I don't have to do it all! Revelation! I began to feel a flood of relief. So I looked at the first of many emails asking me to take action. I picked up the phone and called my senator and left a message. The next day, I typed up two letters, one to each Senator in my state, with a heart felt plea to consider the progressive people's agenda. On my way home from work today, I will make one more call to the Congress. Tomorrow, I will do one more thing, either a phone call to Congress or another letter to my representatives in the house about women's health care. Later in the week, I will join the protests at the Loews Hotel to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and the Center for Popular Democracy against the agenda of billionaires.
Its important to remember that each of us has a small but important part to play. We don't have to do it all. There are millions of us in the 99% and we all have a part to play if change is going to come.
As Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his New York Times bestseller The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.
"In the same way as a virus can spread rapidly through a population, so too can behavior change, particularly within a group. For instance, a small action by one individual within a crowd can influence the actions of other individuals within the crowd, and so on, until the behavior becomes widespread. Thus, small, initial changes have the potential to make significant differences overall."
As we count down the days to inauguration we are witnessing a huge push forward with the progressive movement. This is a historic opportunity to mobilize and come together to push a progressive agenda for peace and human rights for all. Join us this Saturday 1/21/17 at the Women’s March in Philadelphia to plan our initiatives for the new year. Let us know your thoughts and concerns with the movement and how we can use the current climate to motivate women and men alike to take action.