I had an interesting experience phonebanking for OFA in Ann Arbor this week. One of the names that popped up on my list of calls was Weston Vivian, male, age 85.
It was probably the most inspirational call I made all week.
Weston Vivian was a U.S. Congressman from Michigan’s 2nd District from 1965-1967. As he told me during our phone call, he had the distinct pleasure of voting FOR the Social Security Act of 1965 that created both Medicare and Medicaid.
While we talked, Mr. Vivian told me he is in full support of the current legislation and that it is just as important that it pass today as the bill he voted on in 1965 was back then. He then agreed to call Bart Stupak to ask him to vote for the bill.
“Yes, young man,” he told me. “I support the legislation and I’ll call my member of Congress. Thank you for what you’re doing.”
Mr. Weston was a single-term Congressman. He was part of what came to be known as “Michigan Five Fluke Freshmen”, a group of one-term Democrats who were promptly tossed out of office by Republicans at the next election.
Today we have Republican leadership disingenuously threatening Democrats that they will be defeated in the fall by Republicans if they vote to pass this historic legislation. They say this as if anyone believes that (a) they have the best interests of Democrats in mind and (b) they won’t use the bill to pummel the Democrats whether it is passed or not.
Maybe Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are right. Maybe they are wrong. But after speaking to Weston Vivian, I can tell you this: any Democrat that votes FOR this bill will be able to hold their head up high and have no regrets. And 45 years later, when some young whippersnapper like me calls them up during a phonebank, they’ll be able to say, “Yes, young man, I support the legislation and I’ll call my member of Congress. Thank you for what you’re doing.”
I’m just sayin’…
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