One sign of the advanced illness of our democracy in the United States is not just the inordinate importance of “lobbying” (i.e. bribery), but the fact that the second most powerful lobby after business is the American Association of Retired Persons. No offense, but the elderly are both the most economically privileged age group, and people over 65 already have national health insurance (Medicare). Hence, the lobbying leadership of the AARP can’t help but be a generally harmful thing, whatever small achievements it may include for working class seniors.
Consider the AARP’s shockingly wrong-headed and ill-timed “Divided We Fail” advertising campaign. Coming at a moment when pressure for national single-payer health insurance could, with enough public pressure and genuine leadership, have a real effect on an incoming Democratic President and Democratically-dominated Congress, the AARP chooses instead to push for the preservation of “bipartisanship.”
When asked why she couldn’t possibly create single-payer health insurance if elected, the walking disease Hillary Clinton avows that “you have to include” the Republicans “in the process.” Why? If you are the President and have the votes, why not pass the needed legislation?
The real answer to why money-oriented “leaders” make such Orwellian statements is that, beneath their constant claims to the contrary, corporate shills like Clinton and the AARP are utterly hostile to universal health insurance. The only way to get that is single-payer, and the only way to get THAT is to flip the middle finger to its opponents.
The record is as clear as day: In Congress, “united” we fail. To stay “bipartisan” is to insist on the status quo of staggering unfairness, irrationality, and inhumanity in our medical system. To hell with the AARP for obscuring that blatant fact.
P.S. It’s also rather interesting to see that the Service Employees International Union is one of the “Divided We Fail” campaign’s major co-sponsors. This supposedly maverick AFL-CIO breakaway union is now, post “rebellion,” lobbying for bipartisanship! Orwell couldn’t make this shit up. Despite 50 years of worsening betrayals of labor, the shrinking AFL-CIO has been an increasingly subordinate wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party ever since the early Cold War purges of political unionists. Now, rightly complaining that the AFL-CIO is a dying parody of a union federation, the SEIU is stabbing boldly even farther to the right…
As MLK said, “this is a sick society.”