Even though I disagree with some of President Obama’s decisions, and although I find myself disappointed at times with lack of progress toward cherished, progressive goals, I believe he is the best thing that has happened to the Democratic Party since the administrations of John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. He has inherited an ungodly mess from the worst administration in U.S. history. Furthermore, the Republican Party, backed by right-wing billionaires, now has a single-minded purpose, which is to make this president fail.
President Obama has an almost impossible mission. Never in the history of this country has one political party, after leaving messes of crisis proportion, mobilized so totally, thoroughly, and energetically for no other purpose than to make the presidential administration of the other party fail. The right wing in this country has no interest in supporting any programs of President Obama – even if those programs are in the best interests of the American people and are badly needed to stop deterioration in our quality of life.
I do not want to hear my progressive brothers and sisters talk of a Henry Wallace-Eugene McCarthy-Bobbie Kennedy type of primary challenge in 2012. That would be self-destructive and self-defeating. Jean and I expect to be holding our annual celebration of President Obama’s election through 2016.
This Thanksgiving, I can truly give thanks for having known and worked with farm activist Darryl Ringer from Quinter, Kansas. Darryl died in a farm accident in 1993. At the time he was killed, he had gained national stature as an activist on behalf of farmers who were losing their farms to banks in foreclosure actions.
I am proud to say that I offered my couch to Darryl as a place to sleep as he traveled the state in 1988 and worked with us on the Jesse Jackson campaign. His charisma, intelligence, and organizing ability were phenomenal. His death left a gaping hole in the progressive movement.
In memory of Darryl, I suggest that we support the actions of the National Farmers Union, which represents 250,000 farming and ranching families. The Farmers Union is pushing for a strong, viable, government-run, health insurance program. Farm families are finding the cost of health care out of reach due to the nature of the insurance cartel. For instance, 69% of health insurance policies in Nebraska are written by two insurance companies.
The other farm organization, the Farm Bureau, is opposing the bill passed in the House of Representatives. Since the Farm Bureau represents large corporations and the agricorp industry as a whole, it opposes the provision of HR 3962 that requires employers to provide health insurance or pay some rather severe penalties.