Alan Grayson stands up and doesn’t back down to earn Wings of Justice
Originally published on WingsofJustice.com on October 14, 2009
“… if Barack Obama has a BLT sandwich tomorrow for lunch, they (Republicans) would try and ban bacon” — Alan Grayson
Having a Democratic politician stand up for health care shouldn’t be seen as a courageous act. But few of them have spoken up lately with the passion and down-to-earth sentiment from an unlikely source.
Alan Grayson is a freshman representative from Florida who defeated a 4-time incumbent Republican. In fact, the seat in its various forms has been in the GOP column back to the mid-1970s. Under normal circumstances, a new representative would go with the flow and not upset things. And Grayson’s win in 2008 came after losing the 2006 Democratic Party primary.
“The Republican health care plan is this: ‘Don’t get sick, and if you do get sick, die quickly.'”
Okay, this is Grayson’s most famous comment from September 29. And Republicans went ballistic.
Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-TN) made his thoughts clear: “That is about the most mean-spirited partisan statement that I’ve ever heard made on this floor, and I, for one, don’t appreciate it.”
An apology was demanded. Never mind that thin-skinned Republicans generally say much worse on the floor of the House and elsewhere. “How dare a Democratic politician stand up and say something beyond their usual meekness.”
Well, Grayson did take the House floor and offered up an “apology.” But this was different than we were used to hearing from Democrats.
“I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven’t voted sooner to end this holocaust in America.”
What? No carefully worded undertaking to diffuse any pseudo-controversial element from a statement? Grayson not only took the floor to speak up to continue his point, but also he didn’t take back one hair from his statement that the Republicans whined about. Grayson noted that the Republicans’ feelings weren’t high on Americans’ radar.
“I will not apologize for a simple reason. America doesn’t care about your feelings. I violated no rules by calling this report to America’s attention. I think a lot of people didn’t know about it beforehand. But America does care about health care in America. And if you’re against it then get out of the way. Just get out of the way. You can lead. You can follow or you can get out of the way. And I’m telling you now to get out of the way. America understands that there is one party in the country in favor of health care reform. And one party that’s against it and they know why.”
In that same speech, Grayson went after fellow Democrats who have been more worried about getting GOP “support” than in doing what House members were supposed to do: get health care reform legislation enacted:
“We as a party have spent the last six months, the greatest minds of our party, dwelling on the question; the unbelievably consuming question, of how to get Olympia Snowe to vote for health care reform. I want to remind us all, Olympia Snowe was not elected president last year.”
Grayson has attracted a lot of attention from teabaggers and supporters. Getting better known can be good for your career and can also be detrimental. But Grayson doesn’t seem to be worried about any of that, unlike some of his fellow Democratic politicians. His focus has been on getting a quality health care reform bill passed, which ironically enough, is what he and his colleagues are there to do.
For being, in the words of this supportive Web site, a “Congressman with guts,” we award Rep. Alan Grayson our Wings of Justice award.