Senators Told to Improve Obamacare

From left, Leslie Rouffe, Lyda Phillips, Becca Hill, Frank Einstein, Nancy Stetten wait to present letters to Sen.Lamar Alexander. Photo by Peter White

By Peter White

NASHVILLE, TN – Call them The Indivisibles. Like a flash mob, about 40 of them swarmed the West End offices of Sens. Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander on Tuesday delivering their letters about the Affordable Care Act.

They’re ordinary people against repeal of Obamacare unless there’s something better.

Sen. Corker thinks that makes a lot of sense. Last week, he introduced an amendment to the bill repealing Obamacare that would have delayed a vote until March, but shortly after midnight Jan. 12, Corker caved in and voted with his fellow Republicans.

The demonstration of Capitol Hill power wasn’t lost on the handful of Indivisible groups that have formed in Nashville since the November election. The Indivisibles are ordinary people with real names who want you to know who they are.

“It is a blitzkrieg assault. We are seeing our civil rights, our healthcare rights, all the rights we are fond of as Americans…particularly for our vulnerable citizens and our minorities, those rights are being threatened,” Laura Gilbert said. “People are coming together in the majority to demand that their legislators listen to them.”

They’re like Occupy Movement activists, but they don’t camp out in public parks. They gather someplace unexpectedly, like a flash mob and, on cue, they suddenly exert a public presence in the halls of power like Tea Partiers did so successfully.

There are 13 such groups in Tennessee and more than 3,000 chapters nationwide. It’s a movement that practically sprang up overnight. It was started by a couple of former Congressional staffers who wrote a citizens guide for grassroots activism.

“Occupying the consciousness of our congressional leaders is what we are trying to do; to be in their face, at their town hall meetings, in their offices, calling them and demanding justice for the American people,” said Lynne Berry who’s organizing an Indivisible group in Robertson County.

Lyda PhIllips said, “Pressure is absolutely what it’s all about.

“The idea is, basically, to be constantly present, like a green fly. You’re calling, you’re emailing, tweeting, sending Facebook posts, and agitating in every way you can,” Philips said. “This makes more difference than anything else that you show up with your face and your people and you say what you want.”

Republican senators and congressmen, Jan Evans said, “will try and gut Medicare… The cabinet picks are atrocious for the most part. So, I think we’re going to have our hands full with all sorts of issues.”

“And,” Gilbert said, “we just say ‘No’ to the sexism, the bigotry. We’re not going to tolerate it. Whatever it takes to stop it we’re going be there to do it and we’re not gong to give up until we succeed.”


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