“Aggressively fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords.” (President Obama quoting Teddy Roosevelt)
Today as part of my job, I had the rare opportunity to watch President Obama live at George Mason University pulling for the health care reform bill which is still shy of the votes it needs to pass the House of Representatives. The only good news is that there are still many undecided Democrats -- the Republicans are one massive "no" having managed, unfortunately, to bring Jesuit-educated Louisiana Rep. Anh Joseph Cao back into the fold, in spite of the fact that almost one quarter of his constituents lack health insurance. One can only hope and pray that Rep. Cao will continue to pray about this issue between now and the vote on Sunday, that perhaps he will take time out to read Rev. Thomas Reese, SJ's column on the issue on the relative merits of a certain good vs. a possible though unlikely evil in making moral choices, something Rep. Cao must surely have studied when he was a seminarian.
The President's speech was well received by most of the crowd. There were a handful of counter-demonstrators outside with signs such as "Keep Your Hands Off My Health Care" and a couple of hecklers who got inside were removed when they refused to shut up and kept others from being able to hear the President.
Rather than attempt to summarize the speech, which was largely President Obama's standard one -- though perhaps with a greater sense of urgency -- I have added the video from the White House Web site below. For those who want to follow the positions of their representatives, especially if your representative is undecided, the Washington Post provides a handy chart.
Will we get the votes to pass health care reform? Your guess is as good as mine but I personally see a number of representatives we can persuade to vote "yea". As the President said today: "I don’t know how passing health care will play politically -- but I know it’s right. Teddy Roosevelt knew it was right. Harry Truman knew that it was right. Ted Kennedy knew it was right. And if you believe that it’s right, then you've got to help us finish this fight. You've got to stand with me just like you did three years ago and make some phone calls and knock on some doors, talk to your parents, talk to your friends. Do not quit, do not give up, we keep on going. We are going to get this done. We are going to make history. We are going to fix health care in America with your help."