On March 28th the House of Representatives passed historic health care reform. We were ecstatic! Millions of Americans and their families will soon experience a direct change in the reality of their lives – in their access to health insurance, and most importantly, in health care itself.
The next morning we received an email message from President Obama thanking us. In the email, which addressed us by our first names, Obama didn’t write about his prowess as a negotiator, or about how he is delivering on his campaign promises, or about how this impacts future elections. No. He focused his message on gratitude to us. Gratitude to the American people. His was clear. He communicated the tangible and intangible benefits that we as Americans will receive with the legislation’s passage. And he ended by reinforcing and repeating the same empowering message he has consistently delivered – “Yes we can!”
Here’s a little bit of what he wrote to us — and millions of others:
Mel and Pearl – For the first time in our nation’s history, Congress has passed comprehensive health care reform. America waited a hundred years and fought for decades to reach this moment. Tonight, thanks to you, we are finally here.
Consider the staggering scope of what you have just accomplished:
Because of you, every American will finally be guaranteed high quality, affordable health care coverage.
Every American will be covered under the toughest patient protections in history. Arbitrary premium hikes, insurance cancellations, and discrimination against pre-existing conditions will now be gone forever.
And we’ll finally start reducing the cost of care — creating millions of jobs, preventing families and businesses from plunging into bankruptcy, and removing over a trillion dollars of debt from the backs of our children.
But the victory that matters most tonight goes beyond the laws and far past the numbers.
It is the peace of mind enjoyed by every American, no longer one injury or illness away from catastrophe.
It is the workers and entrepreneurs who are now freed to pursue their slice of the American dream without fear of losing coverage or facing a crippling bill.
And it is the immeasurable joy of families in every part of this great nation, living happier, healthier lives together because they can finally receive the vital care they need.
This is what change looks like….
Tonight, thanks to your mighty efforts, the answer is indisputable: Yes we can.
President Barack Obama
Once again, we suggest you take a page from the President’s playbook – be gracious, consistent, strong, smart, and focused. Always thank those who help you deliver on the mission and vision of your organization. Remember, it is not about you – it is about the cause you serve and the people who help you bring an important vision and mission to life.
© Mel and Pearl Shaw 2010.