Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009 | 2:08 a.m.
Insofar as health care reform is concerned, this summer has belonged to the people attending tea parties and shouting inanities in town-hall meetings.
Their Republican-led misinformation campaign, typified by their hysterical charge that the government will require senior citizens to appear before “death panels,” has actually worked — polls that once showed overwhelming support for health care reform currently show a majority of people opposing it.
But now there is hope that autumn will belong to people with more sensible views on health care.
It was encouraging Monday when Richard Trumka, incoming leader of the AFL-CIO, said he will recast this, the nation’s largest labor federation, into an “agitating, mobilizing” machine.
In a speech here at a convention of the international painters union, Trumka said he supports the Obama administration’s vision for health care reform and that he has helped keep alive one of its key components, the public option. This option would give the tens of millions of Americans who are now without health insurance the opportunity to become insured through a government program.
Las Vegas Sun reporter Michael Mishak, who covered Trumka’s Las Vegas visit, wrote that the labor leader said he is up to the challenge. Mishak also quoted him as saying, “It is up to us (organized labor) to help Congress and the president do what’s right by working people. Trust me, we intend to help them do what is right.”
It is nice to hear that there will be a counterbalance to the inaccurate talk about health care reform. The voice of the AFL-CIO, which has 11 million members, will be welcome.
This week also brought news that Health Care for America Now, a coalition of national organizations that supports President Barack Obama, has plans for 500 rallies in large cities before Labor Day. It wants to let the president and Congress know there is still widespread support for health care reform.
It is about time that people whose views have not yet been heard stand up and join the debate.