It was 2008. Barack Obama had just been carried to the Presidency by a message of “Hope” and “Change.” The outgoing President, George W. Bush, was an incompetent, brain-damaged war-criminal and clumsy buffoon who had ruined the economy, pillaged numerous public institutions, and caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of innocent people, while simultaneously accelerating the destruction of the environment, and the concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands: robbing the poor to feed the rich.
People were hurting, distressed—desperate for compassion and justice. Obama seemed to promise many broad, badly-needed reforms in both foreign and domestic policy that would usher in a new era of peace and prosperity.
But instead of delivering on most of those promises, Obama gradually betrayed all but his wealthiest supporters’ trust over the next eight years, constantly citing Republican obstructionism as an excuse for his failures, until enough of his own voters became sufficiently fed up to elect a dumb, narcissistic ape with a bad comb-over as his successor.
Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act, had been compromised to the point that it couldn’t even be called a half-measure, and any gains made by it—a prohibition on health insurance companies denying patients’ claims due to “preexisting conditions” chief among them—were encased in a byzantine, bureaucratic maze reminiscent of the movie Brazil, accompanied by side-effects that were often as bad as the disease “Obamacare” was supposed to treat.
It was almost as if it was purposefully designed to fail, thus weakening public trust in government-administered healthcare, and allowing Republicans to credibly threaten repealing and replacing it with something even worse than the conditions “pre-existing” before!
His party’s 2016 nominee for President practically gloated to his disillusioned base that better things were not possible, lecturing them like Mr. Bumble talking down to Oliver Twist. This was called “pragmatic” by bought-and-paid-for media flunkies whose dictionaries must contain a serious misprint under the word, unaware of how this baseless, tone-deaf condescension actually strengthened Donald Trump’s small but ferocious hand—those who hadn’t been explicitly ordered to “elevate” him, anyway!
A challenger in the Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders, recognized the looming disaster, warning that only a candidate with a bold, genuinely populist platform could prevent it; and though he was struck down by a party establishment apparently determined to lose, he’s since become more powerful than they could possibly imagine as a result.
A growing contingent of his Senate colleagues, finally getting the message, has signed on to Bernie’s “Medicare-for-All” bill, unveiled last week. Though even this bill doesn’t go far enough, and its passage at this time is unlikely, what it proposes represents a major leap towards guaranteeing healthcare to all Americans—not just health insurance, or some mealy-mouthed, ambiguous qualifier like “access”—while still addressing cold, economic concerns.
THAT’S what a true “compromise” looks like!