Rev. Al Sharpton's Weekly Blog
The Good Shall Triumph in the End: Lessons From Health Reform and Contempt Charges—
By all accounts, Thursday was a momentous and notable day. The Supreme Court of the United States upheld President Obama's Affordable Care Act, thereby paving the way for millions of Americans to obtain insurance coverage, and millions of others to remain on their plans without fear of being kicked off for simply becoming ill. After decades of working to push for health care reform, progressives saw this President and his signature legislation become the literal law of the land.
But June 28th will also be remembered unfortunately as the day when a sitting Attorney General of the United States was disrespected in the most egregious way. By voting in favor of contempt against AG Eric Holder, Rep. Darrell Issa and others proved that they are not on the side of the American people. And just like obstruction against health care reform, these insulting and outrageous efforts at defamation will be defeated in due time.
When Sen. Mitch McConnell said his top priority was to make Barack Obama a 'one-term president,' he set the tone for many in his party. But despite the enormous attempts to prevent passage of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama pressed forward. Even when members of his own party said it wasn't the right time, our Commander-in-Chief used his bully pulpit for the greater good. And after more than two years of wrangling, Tea Party opposition and legal proceedings, the Supreme Court has made health care reform a Constitutional reality for us all. The ruling was a testament to this nation's ability to do the right thing even when astonishing amounts of money have been funneled in to prevent it from happening. After the screaming matches in towns and cities across this nation, and concerted organized efforts to misrepresent what this legislation does, the American people were victorious.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 17 million children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage, and 6.6 million young adults have the security of coverage on their parent's plan until the age of 26. At a time when so many young people -- including college grads -- are having extreme difficulty obtaining work (let alone health insurance), this provision provides some relief for both parents and their children. Another 12.8 million Americans will benefit from rebates by August because their insurance company spent too much on administrative and wasteful costs. And these are just the immediate benefits. By 2014, insurance companies cannot discriminate against anyone with a pre-existing condition, and the use of annual limits will be banned. Most importantly perhaps, millions of uninsured, hard-working Americans will finally have the ability to purchase affordable coverage for themselves and their loved ones.
Although it took this President most of his term in office to get this legislation to become law, no one can deny its impact. The biggest lesson we as a collective can learn is that of perseverance. As we watch Rep. Issa push so vigorously to hold AG Holder in contempt, let us remember that when all is said and done, the good guy can and will win. Issa's preposterous attempts at disparaging this AG and the Department of Justice are an outrageous and meaningless use of Congressional time and money for partisan political means.
A program that began under the Bush Administration, Fast and Furious was actually ended by AG Holder. After providing thousands of documents and appearing before the House committee several times, AG Holder was treated like some sort of criminal and berated by a group working to score cheap political points. Never once did Issa or the committee meet with the former AG -- Michael Mukasey -- nor did they meet with any member of the Bush Administration. And they refused to hear testimony from the person who actually ran the ATF.
AG Holder has been hard at work fighting voter suppression efforts across this country, including in the always controversial state of Florida. In an obvious ploy to distract, delay and deter his efforts, those who voted to hold him in contempt and conduct this ridiculous circus (including the handful of Democrats that gave in to NRA pressure) should take heed from the earlier lesson of the day: justice will prevail. Even though it may have taken some time, and unyielding effort and patience, health care reform is now a reality. Allowing millions to receive insurance coverage is a reality. Progress is a reality.
While AG Holder may have been disrespected, if history -- and the present for that matter -- prove anything, it's that good shall triumph in the end.