Poor Young Thing
A young gal who works for the Montana Human Rights Network came to our small town last night to see if there was support for more health care reform. She personally would like single-payer ( as would most of the twenty or so people who showed up) but thinks the best bet is to use the Super-waiver to set up a state system like Vermont's. She had lobbied for "progressive values" in the last legislative session and the scars and bruises were still visible. But she still had hope.
This young gal was incredibly bright and I wonder what she thought of us (average age in the audience was sixty) , what she thinks of her own generation, what she thinks of the world in general as she drives back to Helena, looking at the people in their cars.
Montana is not Vermont. We have a governor (for another year) who has expressed support for single payer but the population is generally willing to throw themselves at any corporation which promises jobs(especially insurance) and any demagogue who promises "freedom" from Big Government. In the small crowd were two people who tried to run for state office and were defeated by right-wing knuckleheads spouting the boilerplate lines about taxes and wolves and guns.
It is hard to see the way the whole Obama-care battle sapped the optimism out of the progressives, young and old, yet left them still clinging to their threadbare "democratic capitalism" like a leaky raft on the storm-tossed seas. Their old friend Max Baucus throws them bottles of salt water. They still believe health care is a "right" but can't make the link to food and housing and energy and education and everything else that is theirs to control if they had the courage to step up and take it.
They believe "better candidates" will win in the next election, they believe "common sense" will eventually prevail, they believe the uprising in Wisconsin signalled some profound change and that the Vermont model will provide a light through the tunnel. They believe in the Nation magazine and that capitalism can be reformed. I sat the whole two hours without saying a word.