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Dear President Obama

Dear President Obama,

As one of the very many people who made phone calls, knocked on doors, and held calling parties and rallies in support of your election, I implore you to step up and guide the health care reform bill into law. During the months before your election, health care reform was the number-one issue for most of the people I encountered while working on your campaign.

I also implore you to guide the public option into existence. Without a way for the young, the old, the unemployed, the underemployed, and the disabled to receive quality health care at a reasonable cost, reform would not mean very much. A bit of tinkering here and there is not the dramatic solution to this problem that you promised Americans during your campaign.

I believe that I understand the complexities of governing as much as someone outside of Washington can understand them, and I appreciate your calls for bipartisanship. But, Mr. President, there are times to offer your hand and times to draw it back. If a bipartisan bill means a bill without the public option, it isn't worth the effort. That's the way I feel.

I know that sounds risky, politically. But, as you yourself have said, this is not a political issue. Health problems strike Democrats and Republicans and Independents and Libertarians and people who have never voted in their entire lives. The time to fix this is now. Actually, the time to fix this was a long time ago. Given the choice between passing true reform and losing elections in 2010 -- and even 2012 -- or passing feeble reform and not getting the chance to do what must be done until the next progressive administration takes office, I choose the former.

If we get a good reform bill with a public option -- which I believe only you can shepherd into being -- I and many others will do all we can to take care of the upcoming elections. We will once again make calls and knock on doors and write letters and organize rallies because we will know that our president did the right thing, the brave thing, the best thing for the present and future of our country. We will be more "for you" than ever before, and so will all of the people who will benefit from the public option.

Mr. President, we need your leadership and vision now. On Wednesday, September 9, 2009, when you speak to the Joint Session of Congress, I sincerely hope that you will lay out a plan, require a public option, and set a deadline. Then, damn the consequences. Anais Nin wrote that "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." Please, Mr. President, show us your courage. Expand the freedom and equality in this country. I know you can do it, and people like me are here to help.

Sincerely and respectfully,
Susan Gaissert

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