Mahler Letter to Obama


Below please find the text of my letter to President Obama urging him to ensure a public option remains a part of his health care reform package.

Please take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to plagiarize my letter and send your own version to him.  Do it this week and get six minutes of FLEX credit!

Thanks in advance!


August 17th, 2009

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama,

It was with great disappointment that I read today you may be withdrawing your support for a public option as a crucial part of health care reform after having consistently supported it before.  As workers in the California community college system, we see everyday the need for a system that will offer low cost care to the most vulnerable Americans.  We believe that the public option is inextricably linked to real health care reform that will provide competition with private health insurance and lower costs.

Truth to be told, we are more in support of a single payer system which would guarantee health care as a right for all Americans, but we have supported your compromise position in the hopes of getting something good, rather than holding out for the perfect.  Now to see you allowing a wave of corporate funded, know nothing opposition move you away from what was already a compromise position is deeply dismaying.  If you have a failure of nerve on this issue, it will be a historic one for America.  It will be a victory for corporate special interests and the hard right.

Bipartisanship means something when the other side is willing to compromise in good faith, but surely sir, you know this is not the case here, when even Senators who you have publicly praised for working with you are engaging in demagogic rhetoric about “government death panels” and other such nonsense.  Clearly, HR 3200 is a good bill that deserves your support and the reconciliation process gives you a way to go around a filibuster in the Senate.  Now is the time to stand firm for progressive principles and show some political courage.  This is the battle of a generation and we cannot afford to blink in the face of a right wing assault on democracy.  Otherwise, this is their time and their moment because when the time of decision came, to paraphrase Yeats, the worst were full of passionate intensity and the best lacked all conviction.

So, please, Mr. President, stand firm for the public option.  Our local supported your candidacy against Senator Clinton despite our national AFT’s endorsement of her.  Don’t make us regret our faith in your leadership.  We implore you to not let the corporations win for once in our lifetimes.


Jim Mahler, President
AFT Guild, Local 1931