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Promise to Fight for Me

I can’t be the only person receiving 30 fundraising emails a day from Jon Ossoff’s campaign and another 30 from Raphael Warnock’s. A Democratic win of two more seats in the Senate should be a wonderful accomplishment after years of suffering under Republican control. But when I check the websites of both Democratic candidates for the Georgia seats, I’m baffled.

Both do have some good policy positions. No question. And both are way more progressive than either Loefler or Perdue.

But neither supports Medicare for All, which poll after poll shows the majority of Americans want. They use words like “access” and “affordable.” That’s not good enough.

Both want to “reduce” the cost of higher education. They use other weasel words to avoid coming out in full support of tuition-free college and vocational training.

If they truly support these policies, but voters or donors can’t find that information easily, that’s still a problem. These key details certainly aren’t in their emails. If the candidates support these positions, they must say so. Openly. Unequivocally. Proudly.

Why elect them if they won’t give us the programs and policies we need? It’s like planning a wedding for a marriage that will never be consummated.

What I see instead is, “We need Democrats in the Senate!”

But why elect them if they won’t give us the programs and policies we need? It’s like planning a wedding for a marriage that will never be consummated.

So I’ve begun replying to each and every email. Here’s a sample of my responses for those who might like to try a similar approach:

“Please come out publicly in support of Medicare for All.”

“If you want to serve the people, and I believe you do, then you must come out in support of Medicare for All.” “Americans can't concentrate on addressing the climate crisis when they can't pay basic medical bills. Please state publicly your support for Medicare for All.” 

“I will donate as soon as you come out publicly in support of Medicare for All. If you can't work for this one necessity, what is it you think I'm gaining from your win?”

“Your not coming out in support of Medicare for All during a pandemic that is killing more than a thousand Americans a day doesn’t build confidence that you consider our existential needs a priority.”

“If you want to serve the people, come out in support of Medicare for All and tuition-free college and vocational training.”

“Please let me know when you come out publicly in support of Medicare for All so I can rush a donation to you in time to make a difference.”

“I have limited funds and can only give to candidates who support both Medicare for All and tuition-free college and vocational training. If Democrats want to control the Senate but can't even focus on these two core principles, what exactly are they planning to do for us? Not engage in insider trading? Not be ‘mean’? We need more than that.”

“You must be bold to win. You must publicly support Medicare for All and give people what we need.

“Playing safe just makes you look weak both to Republicans and Democrats. Please take a bold stand and give us Medicare for All.”

“Medicare for All is a MAINSTREAM position.

“I cannot donate to conservative candidates, even if they're Democrats.

“Please come out publicly in support of Medicare for All.”

“A majority of Americans want Medicare for All. That means your position against it, by definition, is extreme. We do not need extreme, conservative Democratic senators.”

“I'm happy to keep receiving 30 fundraising emails from you a day, but each time you send me one, I'll remind you that I can only donate after you come out publicly in support of Medicare for All.

 “Please serve your constituents by fighting for this essential program.”

One of the candidates even sent out a “survey” to see what “we” wanted our elected officials to do. Here was my reply to that empty gesture:

“I answered the survey as best I could, but it's concerning that although you asked for my top three priorities, two of my top priorities weren't even on your list, which shows they’re not even low priorities for you.

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“No Medicare for All?

“No tuition-free college and vocational training?

“If you want to serve the American people, these items need to be at the top of your list.

 “Or at least somewhere on your list.”

“We're in the middle of a pandemic. We need Medicare for All.

“Before the pandemic, we needed Medicare for All.

“After the pandemic, we’ll need Medicare for All.


“You tell us you’re fighting for ‘our most fundamental rights’ and yet you haven't come out publicly for Medicare for All.

“I really WANT to support you, but you've GOT to be willing to fight for this most basic human right.”

“Yes, I'm tired of the gridlock.

“But you're promising me up front that once the gridlock is gone, you STILL won't fight for Medicare for All.

“Or many other essential programs and policies we need.

“Removing the gridlock is only useful if you accomplish something meaningful. And you've told me up front you won't get us the single most important thing we all need—healthcare.”

 “Tired of hearing about Medicare for All?

“We’re tired of not hearing about it.”

Do my messages seem annoying? Are they frustrating to read even in this short summary? Are they obnoxious?

They certainly aren’t even 1/1000as grating as the message tens of millions of Americans hear every day—that our health, our very lives, and that of our loved ones don’t really matter to the people demanding our money. The aggravation my email responses might generate is trifling compared to knowing we can’t quit a hateful, dangerous job without losing our health insurance.

It’s nothing compared to the mental anguish underinsured Americans with no mental health coverage feel every day. It’s trivial compared with the suffering experienced by those who can’t even take a sick day, with the misery Americans feel choosing between treatment for Stage 1 cancer and bankruptcy.

These two candidates seem to have a desperate need for my financial support. I don’t expect their staff and volunteers to have time to respond to my emails. But if the candidates can’t bother even to pretend to offer me the most basic of essentials now, when they need me, why should I expect them to work for me once in office?

As Elizabeth Warren once pointed out, when candidates say it’s not the right time for healthcare or education or jobs, they’re being completely honest that they will not be fighting for us if elected.

I desperately want to donate to Ossoff and Warnock, but they’re not making it possible.

 Jon? Raphael? You’re running for Senate as public servants while promising not to serve. The fact that you’re “better” than your opponents is of little consequence if you don’t plan to address our most urgent needs.

Yes, you have some good policies, and we need you to stay firm on those. But we can’t live on incremental progress. We can’t wait thirty years to get the healthcare we need now. Medicare for All and tuition-free college and vocational training address basic medical, educational, and financial needs. Both are prerequisites for racial justice. These are non-negotiables.

Am I mean to pester Ossoff’s and Warnock’s campaigns by answering every email they send?

Well, there’s a win/win solution to that.

Johnny Townsend

Raphael and Jon, we want you and we need you, but only if you step up to the challenge.

Johnny Townsend