Today, starting at 10 am, the long awaited "Health Care Summit" begins. If you can't watch it on TV, (C-span 3) you can steam it at the White House website.
By now many of you may have seen a special comment from Keith Olberman last night. It still gives me chills. You can watch it here,
and read the transcript. Please do, it is painful and gut wrenching and it a conversation we need to have with our loved ones. For one man to lay bare such intimacy regarding his personal situation is not only brave but heroic.
"Help." He is mouthing the word "help," over and over and over again. And I get his attention. He is in full panic. Maybe the x-ray tech hurt my Dad's back, or touched those new chest drains — more likely he did nothing very much at all. But it was just too much for my father.
"Stop this," he mouths. "Stop, stop, stop." And I say to him: I know for a fact they are not doing anything more to you tonight. And he looks at me and starts thrashing his head again: "Help, help, help."
And to the politicians who go into Blair House tomorrow for the summit: I have some requests as well. Leave your egos at the door. I want, I demand, that you give everybody in this country a chance at the care my father has gotten. And I demand, that you enact this most generous and most kind aspect of the reform proposed: the right to bill the damned insurance company for the conversation about what to do when the time comes, the Life Panel.
And I want all of you to think of somebody lying in a hospital bed tonight who needed that care and needed that conversation, and imagine that that is your father, or mother, or son, or daughter, or wife, or husband, or partner. If you cannot do that, if you cannot put aside the meaninglessness of your political careers for this, my request to you then, is that you not come back out of that meeting for you would not be worthy of being with the real people of this country who suffer, and suffer again because you have acted on behalf of the corporations and not the people.
If you cannot do this, go into that room and stay there and we'll get new ones to replace your worthless roles in the life of our country. My father cannot speak for himself. He appointed me to do so for him and I haven't the slightest doubt he wants me to say this tonight, right now. He mouthed the words to me and I will now give them such voice as I have to you going into that summit tomorrow. Help. Help. Help. Help.
When you or someone you knows tries to tell you about these so called death panels, ask them -- have they ever been faced with watching someone you love dying? Many of us here have been in that place, and will again at some point in our lives.
They are life panels
, they are the very things that make it easy for someone to decide how they want to die with dignity -- it is really about making a choice when you can make one. That is dignity. We should honor our life partners, mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers with being able to have that option. We should honor that to ourselves, and to our children. And for people like me, who do not have children, we should give our friends and family a plan so they never have to face this.
We shouldn't have the sanctity of life disparaged by those that would take it way for political gain, as we see happening right now within the Republican party. The lies, and distortion have been long out of hand, and they still continue. They would rather discuss tables and chairs and snacks option for the summit today.
As if to confirm his prediction, Republicans are now demanding all kinds of atmospherics for Thursday's healthcare summit.
The biggest demand so far: Republicans insisted on no podium at the summit, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern at Blair House across from the White House. “We don’t want any more of that Professor Obama lecturing to us stuff,” one staffer told Politico.
The White House conceded. Now everyone will sit at a table in a hollow square setup, identified with name cards.
They got their fancy, appropriately shaped table along with chairs and name tags. In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of Americans can't get basic health care. Thousands more will die because of it.
That people would deny this to our own is truly undignified.