Category Archives: Human Rights

Dr. Luke Tripp: The Political and Structural Context of the Police Murder of George Floyd

Editor’s Note: Back in 1988 I was a student reporter for the Daily Egyptian, the student newspaper for Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. I reported a story about campus activist and Black Studies professor Dr. Luke Tripp being denied tenure there. During a Facebook discussion about an off-the-record threat I received from an administrator to be mindful of the kind of reporting I did: (‘If you’re going to be a trouble-maker, you’d better be damned good, otherwise, if we find an excuse to get rid of you, we will.’) a friend wondered whatever happened to Dr. Tripp.

A google search traced him most recently to St. Cloud, Minnesota as the acting chair for the Department of Ethnic, Gender & Women’s Studies at St. Cloud State University.

I sent an email there to Dr. Tripp. I wrote Dear Sir: I would like to start a political podcast and have you on my first show to discuss your campus activism in Carbondale and where it led you. I’d be interested to share whatever you have to say about politics, social justice, and the possibility or lack of possibility for racial reconciliation or political reform.


I regret you did not get a better platform from my article in 1988 and would like to offer whatever amplification I might produce through this effort.

Dr. Tripp responded promptly in the affirmative and included this essay. I am blogging it now and look forward to having him as guest on the podcast.

This was sent as an email draft and has not been proofed by an editor. – Adam Broad – Lake County, IL June 1, 2020

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Author: Dr. Luke Tripp

The Political and Structural Context of the Police Murder of George Floyd

During a pandemic, the savage murder of George Floyd has sparked protest demonstrations and the mobilization of millions who are morally outraged. His brutal death represents the everyday inhuman racist treatment of people of color in the United States. This case is socially and politically explosive.

To understand the social and political dynamics of this case, we have to focus on the centrality of race and the criminal justice system. Americans profess to believe that the rule of law should be applied equally to all citizens regardless of race or status. Yet, it is beyond dispute that the criminal “justice” system functions from start to finish (definitions of crime, investigation, arrest, charging, conviction, and sentencing) in a racially biased way.

Black bodies have been made to signify criminality, a threat and a menace to society by the American government at all levels. It logically follows that these bodies (male, female, young, and old) will be harshly and brutally assaulted by the law-enforcement forces of public safety (police). The continuing and pervasive practice of the extremely aggressive policing of Black people is a manifestation of the fear and contempt that the White power structure and White American culture have of people of African ancestry. A militant, well-organized, and the highly politicalized Black community is necessary to curb anti-Black policing. Recent mobilizations of the Black community in reaction to the shooting deaths of unarmed Black men demonstrate that we can have an impact on the course of actions by officials of the criminal justice system. 

America: Racialized Police State

Every Black male, young and old is stigmatized as a potential or actual threat or menace to society. The vast majority of Black men have had a negative encounter with the criminal justice system, including Martin Luther King. One of my many personal encounters with the police department happened in St. Cloud, Minnesota. On Monday, July 9, 2007, at about 3:40 pm, while walking home from my office at St. Cloud State University, I was stopped on the sidewalk by two police officers who were in separate squad cars. One officer got out of the car and looked at me and my bag, which I use to carry books and papers, and said that she had mistakenly perceived my bag as a purse. The fact that I, a university professor and senior citizen, was stopped on a busy street in mid-afternoon and publicly humiliated by police officers because they perceived me as a suspected purse thief indicates the high level of anti-Black police profiling in the city of St. Cloud. I filed a formal complaint, but it was disdainfully dismissed. I did not even receive an apology.

The social structure of racism is predicated on stereotypes based on the appearance of our bodies. Negative stereotypes and anti-Black prejudices shape the discrimination that makes the everyday lives of Black Americans painful. Anti- Black stereotypes are derogatory beliefs and cognitions and feelings of antipathy toward Black people. They are used to discredit, vilify, persecute, dehumanize, and target Black people, and they become toxic when supported by White power and dominance. The George Floyd case is especially painful for Blacks. Daily, Blacks feel the stress largely caused by White police officers and hostile Whites. The George Floyd case reveals more about the criminal justice system than it does about his killers.

The American Constitution: Black Lives do not Matter

Racial tensions are very high in the U.S. today. The Black community is angry, hurt, and in pain because of the frequent killings of Blacks by police officers. This institutionalized violence is evidence to Black people that their lives are not respected or valued by White American society. Throughout American history, the government has created institutions that functioned to maintain White privilege and supremacy, resulting in the continuing oppression of Black people. One major arm of the government that is used to control Blacks is its criminal justice system. Since the very inception of the United States, through its ratification of the Constitution in 1787, Black people have had to fight against the legal system which legitimized our dehumanization and enslavement.

To understand why criminal justice works against black people, we need to know a little legal history. Dred Scott v. Sanford, 60 U.S. 393 (1857), was a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Dred Scott v. Sanford, Supreme Court judges considered this key question: Did the citizenship rights guaranteed by the Constitution apply to African Americans? The Supreme Court decided the case by a 7 to 2 decision that Black people were not American citizens. They reasoned that people of African ancestry had for more than a century before been regarded as beings of an inferior order and altogether unfit to associate with the White race, either in social or political relations — and so far inferior that they had no rights which the White man was bound to respect. This decision continues to be the guiding constitutional principle of the legal system in the U.S. This is the legal anti-black foundation of the criminal justice system. it is morally bankrupt. It confirms that the legal system continues to operate on the basic principle that “Blacks have no rights which the White man was bound to respect.”

Today, the criminal justice system in Minnesota is being used to control and weaken the Black and American Indian communities by making felons a very large segment of the Black and Indian male populations. Only about 6 percent of Minnesotans are Black, according to 2018 census estimates. Yet nearly 36 percent of the state’s prison population is Black. American Indians make up about 1 percent of the population and more than 9 percent of prisoners. Section 1. Adult Prison Population Summary as of 07/01/2018. https://mn.gov/doc/assets/Minnesota%20Department%20of%20Corrections%20Adult%20Prison%20Population%20Summary%207-1-2018_tcm1089-347924.pdf

Turning the Black community against Itself

Perhaps the greatest immediate danger to the social fabric of the Black community is the criminal “justice” system. Through mass incarceration, millions of Black parents are now in prison, on probation, or parole. Moreover, a large segment of the Black population is legally marginalized by being branded as felons or ex-felons. Thus, police actions against the Black community have serious implications for the economic status of the family and the educational future of the children.

The criminal justice system has become a dominant presence in the lives of Black males. It impacts employment, housing, family formation, and political participation. Racialized incarceration is a manifestation of the political strategy to control and stigmatize Blacks as violent criminals and dangerous threats to civil society. The social, economic, and political consequences of stigmatizing and criminalizing Black males have seriously weakened the social fabric of the Black community. Black ex-convicts are viewed as social pariahs.

They have been virtually banished from the labor market and in many states, they have been banned from civic engagement by the Felony Disenfranchisement Laws. They return to the Black community from prison with very few skills or opportunities to lead constructive lives. The social dysfunctions in the depressed areas of the ghetto can be largely attributed to the anti-Black functions of the criminal justice system, which operates to debilitate the Black community by making felons out of a large proportion of Black men who then prey largely on members of their community- “Black-on-Black” crime. Racial profiling is a tactic used in the strategy of the criminal justice system to maintain the subordination of Black people. But we are fighting back. The mass protest marches show our resolve to struggle against racial injustice in America. Racism divides and dehumanizes groups. Resisting racism is an act of liberation.

The militarization of the Police Force 

This militarization of the police force is a manifestation of the strategic planning of the government to control Black people. The war on drugs serves as the rubric under which anti-drug laws and administrative policies have targeted Black people for marginalization and criminalization. Through the criminal justice system, many Blacks are denied basic citizenship rights (the vote, student loans, public housing, etc.). The criminal justice system has become a dominant presence in the lives of Black males. It impacts employment, housing, family formation, and political participation.

The militarization of the police force in terms of army weapons, military tactics, and special assault units has been a long-term trend since the urban rebellions of the 1960s. The display of naked military-style intimidation against protesters for social justice in Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown is an example of the extent to which the police departments across the nation have been militarized with equipment from the U. S. Department of Defense.

The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement grew out of this reality which continues to propel it. The main thrust of the movement is aimed at the criminal “justice” system, especially on police brutality and harassment, racial profiling and ticketing, police militarization, and mass incarceration.

The White ruling elite views BLM as a disruptive threat that has the potential to become an insurgent force that will challenge their stratified power structure of racial domination. Therefore, they are implementing both repressive and reform strategies to weaken and defuse BLM. The repressive measures taken by the White elite include hiring more police officers and equipping them with military weapons, putting more people under surveillance and detention, restricting the space for protest demonstrations, and stigmatizing protesters as violent, uncivil, militant troublemakers.

Social Control through Deceptive Color-Blind Policies

The grievances that are acceptable to the White elite only address lite manifestations of racism in the criminal “justice” system. By making small concessions to minor demands and incorporating the moderate protest elements into the mainstream entities, the White elite wants to co-opt BLM. The White liberal establishment has framed the issue as the bad or inappropriate behavior of a few White police officers. Hence their remedies include a better screening of police officer candidates at the point of hiring, conducting racial/cultural sensitivity training, and arranging get-acquainted sessions with people and police in the patrolled area. Also, recommendations are made to incorporate more people of color and women into the police force to change the White image and to reduce the racial criticism of the police force.

The racial integration of police departments and prison staffs may reduce the level of profiling, brutality, and harassment, but they will not address the basic underlying issues because these fixes are predicated on the erroneous idea that the blame for police profiling and brutality is on White police officers who harbor racial animosity toward people of color. By focusing on racist police officers, serious attention is deflected away from the systemic control role of the police, of any color, which is to serve and protect the racialized capitalist social hierarchy from disruptive insurgent forces.

The basic fact is that the police force is under the command of the ruling White elite, which directs the criminal “justice” system to target those individuals and groups whom it views as a threat to social stability and its dominant power structure in the social order. History has shown that organized morally driven disruptive strategies against racialized political structures by Black people and their allies have been effective in the struggle for social justice in America. The struggle to dismantle U.S. apartheid will continue.

Resistance to the Racist Police State 

Why should Black people obey unjust laws that do not recognize their humanity? Protests in the form of demonstrations, marches, rallies are acts of resistance against a brutal repressive system that targets and dehumanizes and assaults Black people. The political officials are calling for calm and acceptance of the racialized capitalist structure. But to accept the structure is to legitimize the moral authority of an inherently racist system, which debases Black people. 

Government officials view Black’s people’s moral outrage as a problem that must be repressed and dissipated; they ignore the anti-Black function of the CJS that caused the outrage. The CJS is used as an assault weapon and an extortion mechanism against the Black community. Black people have a moral duty to actively fight against a system that operates to strip them of their dignity. People who have a sense of what constitutes justice will not accept immoral policies. Moreover, they will vigorously protest them. Racism divides and dehumanizes groups. Resisting racism is an act of liberation. Rallies, marches, forums, and petitions are moves we take to empower ourselves to dismantle racism. The struggle for justice in the George Floyd case is a struggle against racism. Paul Robeson, a Black liberation hero, reminds us that we “must take a stand” to advance our humanitarian struggle.


Bend The Arc – Memorial at Champaign County Courthouse


Weekend Campaign Trail Stuff

OctoBERNfest. Old Hideaway. Cary, IL

A lot of rain yesterday. I was in a tent on stage and the crowd was in a food tent across a wide field. I could barely see the faces of the people in the tent and they were mostly eating brats and drinking beer while I started. One of the musical acts setting up, working and talking around me is obvious from the video.

On the plus side, I was able to engage the crowd and had a number of people introduce themselves to me afterwards asking me “What can I do to help your campaign?”

Brad voted correctly on Yemen. We all make mistakes here. Waiting for Brad to admit he made a mistake on Medicare For All and the defense budget. Thanks to our campaign manager Colleen LaVigne who works with Lisa Peck to keep this campaign and this candidate honest.
CB feels the BERN. From apolitical to campaign activist in one campaign cycle.

Your donation pays union printers to help this campaign educate voters about ending the free ride for health insurance CEOs and shareholders who get rich from a system the kills and bankrupts Americans.

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/broad-for-congress-2


Reclaiming Our Voices – Restoring Voting Rights in the 21st Century

#GiveUsTheBallot #RestoreSection5

Michael Brennan at the Bughouse Square Debates

Michael got selected over me and a couple of others to argue in favor of Single-payer healthcare. The reject speakers were there to support him. It was not politics as usual nor was it supposed to be. He was armed with dignity and the facts on his side.

Michael Brennan argues for Improved Medicare For All at the Bughouse Debates at Washington Square Park, hosted by the Newberry Library

This year’s Bughouse Debates marked the 100th anniversary of Chicago’s 1919 Race Riots. Much like the death toll of that racist violence 100 years ago or unarmed citizens summarily executed by police today, bad outcomes from our current healthcare system disproportionately harm people of color. The life expectancies in the affluent nearby Streeterville community range decades higher than life expectancy in the low-income African American communities located just 15 miles west or south. Your life expectancy in the United States shouldn’t depend on your skin color or your zip code. Our Constitution calls for the government to provide a common defense and to promote the general welfare. Healthcare is a human right and National health insurance secures that right immediately. A government of the United States that doesn’t secure the rights of its citizens is a failed government.

Adam Broad and Mark Johnson at Washington Square Park for #Bughouse2019 @newberrylibrary Chicago, IL

Thanks to Timi, Ethan, and Joel for volunteering along with Mark. Thanks to everyone that stopped by to purchase a button, T-shirt, or to get on the mailing list for the ISPC.

http://ilsinglepayer.org


My wife Lisa is Not running for Congress

Why is it I have to work outside the party to empower low income people, people the system is not working for, people who are being crushed by our health care system?

Editor’s Note: Since the time this blog was posted the Facebook Live video was hacked and pieces of video and audio are missing. It probably makes a little more sense that we’re singing ABBA’s Fernando after I announce that AAA just called and Fernando is coming to tow the car.

…And the way REPUBLICANS sold out their constituents…

got cut off at the end of my comment asking “Are we seeing the same thing with Democrats”

Editor’s Note updated 6/23/19 – After putting out an SOS, the hack/glitch was anonymously resolved. Thanks, Anonymous! – And Now it’s broken again. Effin’ WordPress.

Fun with Facebook Live outside of Cupitol in Evanston. It’s Great To Be Alive!

MEMO FOR Establishment Republicans and Establishment Democrats: Maybe you didn’t get the previous memo. Don’t let the money and status fool you. You are not popular.

Are we actually seeing what we saw with the last Congress? Where Democratic (Congressional Representatives) now have to run and hide from their Democratic constituents because they are selling us out… the way Republican Congressmen sold out their constituents? And what a surprise… they all get money from the same people.

Sell the house. Sell the kids. We have to pay our health insurance corporation to bankrupt America.

Emergency Tour sends M4A Ambulance on rescue mission to Planet Brad. Text “M4A” to 83-224 to support Medicare For All.

Congressman Brad Schneider is blocking MedicareForAll. Our Revolution came to his office in Lincolnshire, IL to talk about that.

Trolling Congressional DEMS to save lives and livelihoods: Behind The Scenes on the National Emergency Ambulance Tour #MedicareForAll

Editor’s Note: an earlier version of the blog listed an incorrect text number. Please re-post this corrected version early and often to help correct that and get the word out.

Text “M4A” to 83-224 to support Medicare For All

CHECK. CHECK. TESTING. TESTING 1-2-3. CHECK. 1-2-3. 1-2-3. CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

Thursday morning in the LOOP. Our Revolution and Refuse Fascism share a rally outside a $1000 pr plate fundraiser for Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3). Our Revolution is promoting Medicare For All and protesting Democratic party efforts to block progressive primary campaigns against corporate conservative incumbents. Later in the afternoon, after the #MedicareForAll National Emergency Ambulance visited Rep. Mike Quigley (IL-5), Our Revolution received parlay invites from Quigley, Rep. Lauren Underwood (IL-14) and Rep. Bill Foster (IL-11).

It was around 10 pm Wednesday night that Our Revolution activist Colleen LaVigne asked me what time she needed to leave to arrive on time for a Thursday morning rally and protest outside a fundraiser for Rep. Dan Lipinski. My wife Lisa had the answer for her. “Now,” she said.

Chicago is funny that way. Distance is irrelevant. Time is everything. Depending on time of day or luck of the draw, that projected 15 minute ride might take hours. If you’re running into unexpected construction or an accident, it’s bad. If you run into both, forget about it. Get a room and try again tomorrow.

Such predicaments can deter even the most experienced Chicago drivers, but with so much at stake, the National Emergency Ambulance Tour had to forge ahead to Help Our Congress Help Us by sharing facts they continue to ignore. Rep. Lipinski was perhaps too busy counting his money from a $1000 pr plate fundraiser to join us. Besides, he might be over-confident because of a Democratic party blacklist threat against any vendors that would help a pro-choice, pro-Medicare-For-All challenger against him.

Other Democrats targeted on the tour chose not to remain ignorant. Three democratic legislators in the Illinois contingent are meeting with Our Revolution to take a longer look at the facts concerning #MedicareForAll.

Joseph Geevarghese, Our Revolution national director, delivers a pointed message and exhorts the live stream audience to text “M4A” to 83-224.

Joseph Geevarghese kicks off the rally outside the Lipinski fundraiser
A Message for Rep. Dan Lipinski (IL-3)
Kerri Barber – Our Revolution McHenry – talks about the economic impact of Medicare For All
Linda Horn from Refuse Fascism – Chicago and Richard Rodriguez
Text “M4A” to 83-224 – Our Revolution
The Closer – The Cubs could have used Joseph earlier in the season. He is bringing the heat.

Next stop: Northside!

Reality TV on Facebook: The National Emergency Ambulance Tour visits the north side of Chicago. Rep. Mike Quigley’s chief of staff set up a meeting for the Congressman to further discuss #MedicareForAll

Medicare For All DAY OF ACTION IN CHICAGO -SATURDAY – Blue Cross Blue Shield Building – RALLY – MARCH – Die-In – PROTEST THE AMA

Join Our Revolution, Illinois Single Payer Coalition, Physicians For National Healthcare Program, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, National Nurses United and several other groups for a #MedicareForAll Day of Action in Chicago.

SATURDAY June 8, 2019 NOON RALLY Blue Cross Blue Shield Building 300 E. Randolph (north end of Millennium Park along E. Randolph Street at the NE corner of Randolph and Columbus Dr.)

Speakers at 1:30 followed by a MARCH (there’s an ADA complaint vehicle for those who can’t) to the Hyatt Regency Chicago where the American Medical Association is hosting its annual meeting. 

During the MARCH to the PROTEST there will be a DIE-IN representing those who have died due to lack of healthcare. The AMA opposed Medicare before its inception in 1965 and continues to obstruct single payer healthcare. Last year the AMA in a coalition with insurance and pharmaceutical companies formed Partnership For America’s Healthcare Future. They spend millions to lobby against Medicare For All/Single Payer to defend our inefficient for-profit system that is bankrupting families and businesses and results in lack of healthcare or death for tens of thousands of Americans.

Saturday June 8, 2019 3 PM The National Emergency Ambulance rushes out to visit Rep. Underwood at 3S 101 Rockwell St. Warrenville, IL


Welcome To Planet Brad

I’m slowly trying to get support among Republicans and I think it’s there, because they want the same thing. -Rep. Brad Schneider

Rep. Brad Schneider continues to ignore the facts about #MedicareForAll. This is his alternative plan: Slowly trying to build support among Republicans.

No surprise, then, that Our Revolution is bringing the National Emergency Ambulance Tour directly to his office Friday June 7, 2019 at 4:30 PM.

Our Revolution volunteer activists Dr. Lisa Peck, Colleen LaVigne, and Kerri Barber will be sharing those facts our Congressman is ignoring. Help Brad help us by showing up and adding your voice.

Our Revolution: Show up for the #NationalEmergencyAmbulanceTour

Our Revolution #NationalEmergencyAmbulanceTour:

8:00 AM Thursday June 6 – Rep. Lipinski at 300 N. LaSalle Chicago, IL

NOON Friday June 7 – Rep. Bill Foster 815 N. Larkin STE 206 Joliet, IL

4:30 PM Friday June 7- Join Our Revolution Buffalo Grove and Our Revolution Lake County with the National Emergency Ambulance Tour.

Brad Schneider’s office 111 Barclay Lincolnshire, IL

“Each day House Democrats fail to lead, lives are lost,” Joseph Geevarghese, national director of Our Revolution, said in a statement. “It is morally unacceptable for the Democratic House majority to stand by and do nothing as Americans needlessly die and families fall into despair.”

“The truth is Medicare for All is a progressive litmus test—either you’re on the side of the sick and the suffering or you’re with corporate healthcare CEOs,” said Geevarghese.

#MedicareForAll DAY OF ACTION IN CHICAGO -SATURDAY – Blue Cross Blue Shield Building – RALLY – MARCH – Die-In – PROTEST

Join Our Revolution, Illinois Single Payer Coalition, Physicians For National Healthcare Program, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, National Nurses United and several other groups for a #MedicareForAll Day of Action in Chicago.

SATURDAY June 8, 2019 NOON RALLY Blue Cross Blue Shield Building 300 E. Randolph (north end of Millennium Park along E. Randolph Street at the NE corner of Randolph and Columbus Dr.)

Speakers at 1:30 followed by a MARCH (there’s an ADA complaint vehicle for those who can’t) to the Hyatt Regency Chicago where the American Medical Association is hosting its annual meeting.

During the MARCH to the PROTEST there will be a DIE-IN representing those who have died due to lack of healthcare. The AMA opposed Medicare before its inception in 1965 and continues to obstruct single payer healthcare. Last year the AMA in a coalition with insurance and pharmaceutical companies formed Partnership For America’s Healthcare Future. They spend millions to lobby against Medicare For All/Single Payer to defend our inefficient for-profit system that is bankrupting families and businesses and results in lack of healthcare or death for tens of thousands of Americans.

Saturday June 8, 2019 3 PM The National Emergency Ambulance rushes out to visit Rep. Underwood at 3S 101 Rockwell St. Warrenville, IL

Monday June 10, 2019 1 PM #M4A/End DCCC Blacklist National Emergency Ambulance Rally 2401 4th Ave Rock Island, IL

ACTION ITEM ADDED – FROM NATIONAL NURSES UNITED:

The Ways & Means Committee is set to hold hearings next week on H.R. 1384: The Medicare for All Act of 2019. Brad Schneider sits on this committee but has not yet signed onto the bill. Please call Brad before the hearing. Just dial 202-858-1717 and enter your zip code to be connected with his office.

Colleen debriefing on Facebook Live after Rep. Brad Schneider’s Town Hall last Saturday morning after asking, “What will it take just to get the bill out of committee?” We appreciate the Congressman making himself available afterwards, but we are losing patience with Brad’s “How will we pay for it?” objection. We answered that question repeatedly and the answer is in the bill itself.


Things are getting awkward with Rep. Brad Schneider RE: Medicare For All

I have had a respectful, friendly, and collaborative relationship with my Congressman, but I am frustrated by his political double-talk about healthcare. Tens of thousands of Americans are dying or going bankrupt from a healthcare establishment that puts corporate profits ahead of the health and general welfare of the nation. Too many political elites in the democratic party are protecting a greedy and inefficient for-profit private health insurance industry. Our Revolution is challenging all of them with a simple question: “Are you for Medicare for All or are you on the side of Big Pharma and the insurance industry?” Brad is trying to stand for “Healthcare as a human right” while obstructing the plan to make sure that’s not an empty slogan.

Brad Talking On Both Sides of the Room
Colleen from Our Revolution Buffalo Grove asks Rep. Brad Schneider: What will it take just to get #MedicareForAll out of the Ways and Means Committee.
Tom from Our Revolution Lake County talks to Nancy about #MedicareForAll

Members of Our Revolution Lake County previously met Rep. Schneider to discuss Medicare For All. He frequently says, “The perfect should not be the enemy of the good.” When it comes to Medicare For All, he holds a different standard. He uses progressive slogans and says he has no sacred cows, but he does not offer an alternative plan that allows access and quality healthcare without continuing to bankrupt the American people. His opposition is reminiscent of the Republican opposition to Obamacare. He offers previously debunked criticism and fails to explain how he can lead us to a better path.

‘Democrats Against Medicare for All Make Me Sick’: Steny Hoyer First Target of National Emergency Ambulance Tour

Published on Thursday, May 30, 2019 by Common Dreams

“Each day House Democrats fail to lead, lives are lost… This is an emergency campaign to go after politicians who are unwilling to stand up for our basic human right to healthcare.”

by Jake Johnson

The tour kicked off Thursday in the Maryland district of House Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who has yet to co-sponsor Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s Medicare for All legislation. (Photo: Our Revolution/Screengrab)

“Are you for Medicare for All or are you on the side of Big Pharma and the insurance industry?”

That is the fundamental question advocacy group Our Revolution intends to pose to Democratic lawmakers across the country with its nationwide “Medicare for All Emergency Ambulance Tour,” which launched Thursday with the goal of pressuring members of the House majority to support Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s single-payer legislation.

“It is morally unacceptable for the Democratic House majority to stand by and do nothing as Americans needlessly die and families fall into despair.” 
—Joseph Geevarghese, Our Revolution

To underscore the life-or-death urgency of passing Medicare for All, Our Revolution members plan to drive an ambulance to the home offices of House Democrats who have yet to sign on to Jayapal’s Medicare for All Act of 2019.

The nationwide tour kicked off Thursday in the Maryland district of House Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a long-time opponent of single-payer.

“Each day House Democrats fail to lead, lives are lost,” Joseph Geevarghese, national director of Our Revolution, said in a statement. “It is morally unacceptable for the Democratic House majority to stand by and do nothing as Americans needlessly die and families fall into despair.”

“The truth is Medicare for All is a progressive litmus test—either you’re on the side of the sick and the suffering or you’re with corporate healthcare CEOs,” said Geevarghese.

Speaking at the launch event on Thursday, Dr. Laura Kaplan—a member of Our Revolution Maryland—urged Hoyer to join his fellow Maryland Reps. Jamie Raskin, John Sarbanes, and Elijah Cummings in supporting the Medicare for All Act of 2019.

“It is important to remember that we did not arrive at our current healthcare payment system for moral, ethical, or inevitable economic reasons,” Kaplan said while standing in front of a sign that read “Democrats Against Medicare for All Make Me Sick.”

“As a medical doctor,” Kaplan said, “my prescription for our nation is universal healthcare.”

Watch the Maryland event:

The Medicare for All ambulance is expected to travel to Texas, Wisconsin, and other states before a final event at the first Democratic presidential debate in Miami, Florida, on June 26 and 27.

“This is no ordinary road trip—this is an emergency campaign to go after politicians who are unwilling to stand up for our basic human right to healthcare,” Geevarghese wrote in an email to supporters on Wednesday. “It is time to hold Democrats—like Steny Hoyer—accountable.”

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.


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