An email template from the near future.
I am sorry I cannot make it to your event, but I have to call Congress every eight minutes to plead for my life.
Would I like to go to your wedding/bar mitzvah/coffee date/movie/quiet place where sleep is possible? You bet. But you know that if I don’t call my senator and register my opposition, the new Terrible Health-Care-Ending Bill to Unleash Boils Across the Land, Replace the Rivers with Blood and Slay All the Firstborn will go through, and the time between those bills is getting shorter and shorter.
It is not that I don’t want to be there for your life milestone. I do! I am just really concerned that my senator might prefer for this state to have six costly nowhere bridges studded with diamonds than to prevent millions of people from being flung off their insurance, and I am not willing to take that chance, not even for the six minutes that will pass between the inception of this bill and its introduction on the Senate floor for a vote.
(Just a minute; in the course of typing this response they have already introduced another bill and I have to call again.)
Sorry. I’m back. On a related note, I am sorry that last week I set your baby hastily on the ground and rushed to a landline telephone to plead with my senator, but I am just doing what I can to stop people with preexisting conditions from losing access to care. I am sure Warren will thank me when she is older.
Was it rude of me to run screaming out of the team meeting just as you had fired up your PowerPoint presentation? Undoubtedly. But was it not even more rude of the Senate to decide that if we did not call them within 90 seconds we would all be thrown into a high-risk pool filled with nurse sharks? (An especially mean touch, since those have NURSE in the name yet are not nurses but SHARKS.)
(Sorry, again, in the few moments it took me to type that sentence, a new, terrible Obamacare replacement has been introduced and is rapidly heading toward the floor for a vote without a CBO score or even a fun, memorable acronym.)
Back. I don’t enjoy this any more than you do. Would I like to not have to sit here all day every day staring into the Internet trying not to blink, lest during the time it takes me to shut my eyes and open them the Senate holds enough of a semblance of a debate on a bill to placate a skimpy majority of senators? Undoubtedly. But we no longer have that luxury.
I could swear that only a month ago I was able to read an entire letter from the AMA denouncing a proposed Obamacare replacement before the bill reached the floor, but now I do not even have that kind of time. Why, I remember when Senators used to have to stand in front of the media and insist that they were not in favor of letting people lose their coverage. Now, they just hiss at the press in the hallways as they run from the Non-Committee to the Non-Debate.
So, I’m sorry I cannot be there. I cannot be anywhere. I have not gone underground in months. I cannot risk it. What if, during the few seconds I was left without cell reception, John McCain inexplicably decided he did not care about regular order any longer? Then where would we be?
We are locked in this battle until one of these bills passes, or all the callers die. But I repeat myself.