Skip to main content

We all remember Mom or Dad asking us, “Do you really need that or do you just want it?” Our leaders don’t seem to understand that when we say we need programs like Medicare for All, we aren’t spoiled brats throwing a tantrum because we can’t get the shiny toy Becky down the street has. Do we want Medicare for All? Of course we do. But that’s because we need it.

need it

DNC leaders, you need to hear this: you can give us whatever candidates you want, but if you don’t give us the solutions and programs we need, you need to understand that there are political consequences.

If we ever needed proof that tying health insurance to the workplace is a bad idea, it’s during a pandemic killing tens of thousands of people and hospitalizing even more. Right as more than 16 million Americans lose their jobs—and any health insurance that came along with it, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president is dismissing universal healthcare as a fundamental right. But those 16 million workers aren’t the only Americans without healthcare. Their children are without it now as well. And the 30 million others who are already un- or underinsured.

My sister, a nurse in a nursing home, doesn’t get health insurance from her employer. She hasn’t had health insurance in years. Does she want medical coverage or does she need it?

While Medicare for All might be the most obvious need Americans have, it’s certainly not the only item on our Want Need List.

Almost every other industrialized nation in the world offers their citizens (and even many non-citizens) tuition-free college. Here in the U.S., we tell prospective students that if they want an education bad enough, they need to take out a student loan that may sink them in debt for thirty years. If they want to be low-life bums, though, without any education or vocational skills, that’s their choice, and they need to live with the consequences. The question for our political leaders is this—Do we as a nation need forty million uneducated adults in the workforce or do we just want chronic unemployment and poverty? A follow-up question might be—Do we want to deal with the consequences of having that uneducated workforce or have we simply created a society where we need to?

Do we merely want to reduce carbon emissions or do we need to?

Do we need to incarcerate a larger percentage of our population than any other nation or do we just want to?

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Do we need a voting system that disenfranchises large portions of the electorate or do we just want one?

Do we need a homelessness crisis or do we just want one?

Do we need to separate the children of asylum seekers from their parents or do we just want to?

Do we want clean drinking water or do we need it?

We have made choices as a nation that answer every one of these questions and more. We’ve chosen to create ignorance and poverty. We’ve chosen to perpetuate illness and misery. We’ve chosen to create and maintain economic injustice, racism, and sexism. Those conditions didn’t just “happen.” We made them happen.

It’s all too clear that Republican leaders don’t want to address these problems, but by consistently pushing pro-corporate, anti-worker policies on us, Democratic leaders tell us time and again they don’t want to address them, either. They understand that they need to give lip service to solutions, that they need to make token advancements, but they don’t want to adopt policies that would all but eliminate them.

As voters, we don’t need Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez or any other specific person. What we do need are humane policies. DNC leaders, you need to hear this: you can give us whatever candidates you want, but if you don’t give us the solutions and programs we need, you need to understand that there are political consequences.

Johnny Townsend

You should want to avoid them.

Johnny Townsend