Activism is the Winning Formula for Good Policy

Dearest CD2 Constituents:

Please consider this – your advocacy and activism made a difference. Let me explain: if you remember back in July 2018, the front runner in our congressional race, Ann Kirkpatrick, signaled that she was not in favor of Medicare for All. She said she couldn’t figure out how to pay for it. So she said she would support a buy in option.

But the work that we did, along with other districts across the nation, is change the narrative about healthcare being a human right. Beginning immediately after the election of 2016, Republicans in Congress made it very clear that they intended to repeal the ACA. Our very own Congresswoman, Martha “Let’s Get This Fucking Thing Done” McSally, lied to us about her willingness to protect her constituents and then voted to repeal anyway, putting over 40 thousand in Arizona’s Congressional District 2 at risk of losing healthcare. Many Arizona activists called her out on her brazen lie. The media picked up the story, and McSally’s lie (and betrayal of our healthcare) became a big factor in her losing the Senate race.

Prior to 2016, the Tea Party had been winning the narrative war.

The Tea Party, prior to 2016, was gaining power and determining the types of conversations we had about government. They gained mainstream power by taking over the Republican Party and by winning very powerful positions in Congress. Their talking points (which had moved the Republican party’s stances much farther to the right) outlined perceived overreach and championed tort reform, while villainizing and mischaracterizing socialism.  After the 2016 election, you hit the streets, with the support of some national organizations that helped amplify your voices. But it was you, the people, who took matters into your own hands.

To all those who stood on street corners, who called their Representatives, who wrote letters to the editor, who gave testimony in advocacy for the ACA and told their stories of losing coverage, of pre-existing conditions, of having lost friends and family because of loss of coverage- you changed the narrative. The conversation about healthcare became a conversation about human rights and sticking up for the poor and the sick.

Fast forward to today. Democrats have finally unveiled the Medicare for All Act of 2019. Some Democrats, who formerly co-sponsored a single payer bill when Republicans were in control of the house, and there was no chance of the bill passing, removed their names. They appeared to get cold feet when they realized Medicare for All might actually have a chance of becoming a reality. But our Congresswoman, Ann Kirkpatrick, signed on to co-sponsor. Our “Blue Dog” Democrat! One can only imagine that the Congresswoman, not known for sticking her neck out in her campaign, must have seen some polling. She must have seen that CD2 voters want Medicare for All. She knew we would back up a vote for this plan.

You discover the winning formula.

Here’s the winning formula folx: people demand, reporters report, people advocate, bloggers write, positions change, and the collective changes their minds. This formula works because deep down, we all just want the same things – the ability to work, raise families, be healthy and thrive. And when we organize and make demands of our representatives, we get what we want.

So please call and write to Ann Kirkpatrick and thank her for listening. Thank her for sponsoring Medicare for All! And also, think about the other issues we can move her on. We know she supports a clean Dream Act. Can we ask her to support a pathway for citizenship for all 11 million people living in this country without protections? Or ask her to sign on to H.R.665, the Save Oak Flat Act? Let’s have these kind of conversations out here, in public. Then let’s talk to our politicians. Through organizing behind our values and principles, we can create exactly what we want and need.

Paul Ingram/