By Alisha Dixon
More than 1000 people from all over the state of Michigan flocked to Fellowship Chapel in Detroit Tuesday night for “A Discussion on jobs, healthcare and building a better future” hosted by Congressman John Conyers with special guest U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.
Sounding more like a campaign speech, Sanders focused on hot button issues like healthcare, jobs, racism and equality. During the speech, Sanders condemned Trump’s failed attempt to denounce Nazi and white supremacist attacks and protests as seen this month in Virginia.
“What we saw last week with Nazis and anti-Semites marching in Charlottesville, Virginia, was upsetting to all of us. The word that kept coming up from people, it was ‘scary, scary’ what was going on in America,” Sanders said about responses to recent attacks. “What was even worse than seeing Nazis march… We’ve seen that before, but we’ve never seen before, whether the president was a Democrat or a Republican, was a president who could not condemn in the strongest possible terms Nazism and white supremacy.”
If history has taught the world anything, Sanders said, it would be that similar rhetoric and silent support of white supremacist ideology has proven to be dangerous.
“400,000 Americans died and many more were injured fighting against Hitler and Nazism and fascism and we have a president who was equivocal. ‘There are nice people on both sides.’ No, there are no nice Nazis!”
As President Donald Trump actively works, although unsuccessfully, to fulfill his commitment to repealing the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans are at risk of losing coverage or assessed higher premiums under a new proposed plan.
This, for Sanders, is “embarrassing.”
As the “richest nation in the world,” Sanders said, the U.S. needs to follow the example of countries like the U.K., Canada and Germany who all have some form of government-issued universal healthcare.
Now, gaining momentum after Trump’s failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act is the proposed Medicare for All bill, first introduced in the House by Conyers in 2003. Many, including Sanders, believe this bill is the solution to the country’s healthcare crisis. H.R. 676 or Medicare for All Act would create a single-payer healthcare system for all Americans, eliminating the need for coverage through private insurance companies and the high premiums that often come with them. The bill would be funded through a 5 percent personal income tax increase for the nations highest earners, investment income and financial transactions and a worker payroll tax.
“There are two fundamental human rights in our great democracy: Everyone should have health care from the minute they’re born,” Conyers said.
The bill, with 116 cosponsors, has also received the support of Sanders who promises to introduce a similar bill in the Senate.
H.R. 676 has been met with opposition from Republican legislators and corporations who want to eliminate all social programs in favor of a ‘fend for yourself’ system that would lower taxes and increase revenue, subsequently lowering the quality of life for 99 percent of Americans.
“‘I don’t have to worry about your family, you don’t have to worry about my family. That is not my idea of America, and in truth, it is not the American people’s idea about America. If my grandchildren are in trouble, I want you to help them, and I want them to help you and your family. That’s called America!” Sanders said.
“The American people are united on wanting a government that represents all of us and not just the 1%!”