We Have Less Than a Week to Preserve the Health Care of 24 Million People

When Trump took the presidency, decent people across the country vowed to fight. If you were one of those people, take note: We have less than a week to stop the Republicans from taking health care away from 24 million people. This is not a drill, and there is no time left to wait and see. This is happening, and if we don’t do everything in our power to stop it, a lot of people are going to suffer and die.

No one gets to sit this one out.

I’m not going to outline the horrible mechanics of this bill, or to denounce the secretive manner in which the Republicans are crafting it. Others have done that just fine and will continue to do so. I am writing to ask you to revive the energy you felt just after Trump was elected, when you marched in those first months, or when you took to the airports to oppose the Muslim ban. Amid the mess of Trump’s repeated failures, public scandals and ongoing normalization, an energy that at first seemed to draw millions into the struggle dissipated. Unity amongst those resisting Trump’s agenda may well be a pipedream in the rearview mirror, but what I’m asking for doesn’t require unity, or even a united front.

I am asking you to act. Today, tomorrow, the next day, repeatedly, until this thing is dead. I am asking you to raise the alarm, call your senators and take direct action as though you are standing between 24 million people and a force of imminent destruction, because that’s what this fight has come to. It is not enough, in this moment, to be informed, or even reiterate what you know to others. It is not enough to be a voter who believes in your civic duty. Forces that would kill disabled people, defund medical services for children, and rip health care away from the sick and dying are knocking at our door, and we have to push back.

As a writer, an organizer and a human being, I want to remind everyone who gives a damn that if we lose this one, we are going to want to be able to tell ourselves, and those we love, that we did all we could to prevent this. I know we are swimming in emergencies right now, but this is a crucial hour, and we have an obligation to help save each other’s lives. As someone who has long organized against state violence, I can say this is one of the most sweeping acts of state violence I have ever witnessed. This bill is nothing short of a tidal wave threatening to consume more lives than any natural disaster this country ever has.

Most of us love someone who will suffer or die, or both, if this bill passes. When I began to address this issue, some months back, I did not know if my own health coverage would be impacted by the final version of this bill, but I now have every reason to believe that I, like so many others, will face a bleak fate if this bill is passed. I am frightened, for myself and for us all. I am frightened not only of the effect this bill will have on our lives, but of the darkening future these events foreshadow.

Here are some resources to help you join the struggle:

  • This toolkit that will aid you in calling, faxing or leaving a voice message for your senator, and help you quickly determine whether any of your friends live in key states, so you can reach out accordingly.
  • If you have no idea what states are crucial, check out this link.
  • If you’re not sure what to say when you call, you can use a call script written by one of the grassroots advocacy groups organizing against this bill. The Indivisible Project is currently offering call scripts for people living in key states, and for people who live elsewhere.
  • If your senator is a Democrat, hit them up anyway and demand that they use every tactic at their disposal to stop this bill. There are call scripts available for these conversations as well, if you need them.

Deploy your efforts strategically. Don’t, for example, jam the phone lines of other people’s senators. They will only be swayed by the people who can vote them out, so mobilizing those people to call is the best way to impact those districts.

This is one of those moments when we have to prove that we are who we say we are. Win, lose or draw, let’s not lose sight of that. And don’t forget the power of direct action. There’s nothing more frightening to a politician than entire movements aiming to bring them down. We can flex that power because it’s always with us. When rage meets creativity, we can move the earth. So, let’s remind those who would kill us that we won’t go out without a fight.

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