Hillary Clinton makes a good point on healthcare.

Bernie Sanders has some very popular ideas when it comes to health coverage in this country. A lot of people on the left would like to see a “Medicare for all” where people’s taxes would pay for everyone to be covered regardless of income. This would eliminate the profit motive that many feel keep millions of Americans from becoming insured. I am not opposed to this idea in principle. I have also seen how the insurance companies have harmed individuals with their unethical business practices. Moving to the system that Senator Sanders is suggesting would help to eliminate that as well.

Hillary Clinton would rather us take a different approach to get universal coverage, in part because of the hurdles that would have to be cleared to reach Sanders goal vs hers. Back in President Obama’s first term the passage of Obamacare was a major fight. Part of that fight included giving up the “public option” in HR 3200 that would have allowed people to buy into a public health plan (like Medicare) on a sliding scale based on their ability to pay. The mechanisms for this were labelled “death panels” and HR 3200 was poisoned for the Senate version which sought universal coverage though more of a patchwork of Medicaid and subsidies.

Fighting that fight was difficult and could only be done because for a brief period of time the Democrats had 60 votes in the Senate. The GOP could not stop the ultimate bill from being passed. The end result is we have an infrastructure in place that can handle the specifics of the Affordable Care Act. Can we afford to tear down that infrastructure and build a new one meant to handle what would be needed to implement the Sanders plan? Is it even mathematically possible for his plan to pass at all? The Democrats would need major swings in both houses, something that is exceedingly difficult in the House because of gerrymandering.

This is not to say that a hard fight is not one worth fighting. However, it is about keeping our feet grounded in reality while we advocate for the issues and candidates we support. It is unrealistic to believe that a President Sanders would be able to implement Medicare for all in his first term and he would likely be required to propose amendments to the Affordable Care Act to make any improvements to the law. Of course, this is the primary season and politicians say what their ideals are now and then temper their campaigning to be closer to reality when the general election rolls around.

#blacklivesmatter and Bernie Sanders

I follow Imani Gandy (@angryblacklady on Twitter) and she wrote this article about the fighting that is going on between Bernie Sanders supporters and the #blacklivesmatter movement. The entire article is something that should be read, especially by people who may have been taken aback by what happened at NetRoots. But I wanted to take a look at this one line from it, because understanding THIS is to understand why people are so angry at the response given by Sanders supporters.

” Most Black voters want the answer to one question: What is Sanders’ plan to address the police brutality crisis in the Black community?”

Every candidate should be asked that question. And every candidate should have a response other than all the things that they have done in the past. Because after all those things, we do have so much further to go. White candidates especially need to show that they acknowledge their privilege and display to minority voters how they intend to use that privilege to eliminate privilege and prevent actions like those that happened to the myriad of black lives (like Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, John Crawford,  etc) that have been extinguished without penalty because of white supremacy.  And they need to show that they have been paying attention and not be stupid like O’Malley and say “all lives matter”  (since that is the hash tag used by racists to shut down conversation on the disproportionate wrongs happening to the black community).

I am white progressive.  I believe the problems in our country wont be solved until white people stop looking at problems in the black community are things that happen to “them” and instead look at it as things that happen to “us”.

But I am not perfect. I know sometimes I get advocacy wrong.  Many times people who label themselves as allies to the fight for equality will make a mistake in wording or in action.  Should such a person be shouted down in the same way as a confederate flag waving racist apologist? Maybe, maybe not. Is it reasonable to suggest that someone who marched for civil rights might be more open to sit down and listen without having to be shouted down?

Perhaps. However, supporters of Sanders do themselves no favors by shutting down conversation with a “who else are you going to vote for?” response. Sanders SHOULD be expected to show that he will be an advocate for equality and the destruction of a system of oppression.  And white people demanding that oppressed people behave in a way that white people deem “civil” is just a ridiculous display of privilege. And when an oppressed person shouts, those who are not oppressed should listen because there are very good reasons for oppressed people to be angry.

Perhaps white people would be better off asking what they can do to make oppressed people feel like those white people are open to sitting down and listening to the oppressed people and their needs. If people in non privileged classes felt that privileged people were listening to them, they wouldn’t feel the need to raise their voices at them. And instead of “demanding” that Sanders’ past makes him deserving of some sort of pass for mistakes made, perhaps all politicians should be proving what future actions they will take to prove they are the most deserving of their support.

To use a baseball analogy, it doesn’t matter that we all know the GOP will strike out when it comes to proving support for oppressed communities. The bases are loaded with important issues that are vital to black voters.We can only win by driving all the issues home. Bunting isn’t going to get you much crowd support. Go for the home run.