Yesterday was amazing.
10,000 people from just about every state in the Union came to DC. People came from all walks of life - pastors, bricklayers, restaurant workers, small business owners, actors and actresses, doctors, nurses - and they gave their legislators a clear message - we want health reform, we want health reform that's real (including a strong public health insurance option, we want health reform that will lower costs, and we want it now, in 2009, because we can't wait.
As someone who spent all day walking through the crowd and taking in the event, it was impressive. Not only the numbers - 10,000+ in Upper Senate Park was more than the Capitol Police had ever seen - but the lineup was, shall we say, star-studded. Howard Dean, Anna Berger, Senators Schumer and Brown, Congresswoman Allison Schwartz, many other Members of Congress, and our celebrity special guest, actress Edie Falco. They spoke along with grassroots supporters who shared their stories.
But the rally wasn't the only event yesterday. It wasn't even the main event. Twenty town halls were scheduled, with dozens of Members of Congress attending to hear directly from their constituents about health care. And on top of that, hundreds of people met with their legislators one-on-one in small lobbying visits, further driving home the message.
The question looms, however: Did we make a difference? I say unequivocally, yes.
The reports are still rolling in from the visits people had with their Members of Congress, but Health Care for America Now has already advanced our campaign significantly. Senator Burris and Representatives Lipiniski and Rush are the newest Members of Congress to sign on to our statement of principles. And in perhaps the biggest news of the day, Senator Arlen Specter endorsed the Schumer proposal for a public health insurance option, a proposal completely consistent with our principles.
So not only did people come to DC and talk about health care, but Congress listened. That to me says this event was worth it.
We've got a long fight ahead of us, and it won't always be all good news, but things are moving, and we're going to win, because we can't wait.
See below for photos from the event: