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New Poetry Genre: "'Twas the Night Before #hcr"

New Poetry Genre: "'Twas the Night Before #hcr"

December 22, 2009

Health reform is stimulating all kinds of creativity, particularly in the "poetry" department.

A few weeks ago, there was a twitter storm of health care reform haiku. Of course, twitter's 140-character limit is ideal for haiku. You can read them all by searching twitter for "#hcr haiku." If I say so myself, I was proud of my contribution: Lieberman flip flops / No miracle in these days / Hanukkah shanda.

Now a new genre has emerged, parodies of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," (officially titled, "A Visit from St. Nicholas.") While the final health reform vote has just been moved from literally the night before Christmas, to 8:00 am on Thursday, the seasonal juices are still a wonder to behold.

(UPDATE: The NY Times Prescriptions blog noticed the same thing, and held reader a contest for the best poem.)

On the Senate floor was Senator Burris (video below, click to read his poem), whose best line was "What in the world would be quite so raucous / But a mandate for change from the Democratic caucus" (so much better than the obvious rhyme of "caucus" with "Baucus").
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From the other side there's Missouri Senator Kit Bond, reading on his couch in his Republican Red sweats and his dogs jumping all over him:

There's also this screed response from a Republican lobbyist, who takes his ire out on poor Rahm Emanuel, and this from a far-right tea-bagger type ("They mumbled in unison, as the tally rolled in / “Bah Humbug America! Let the Death Panels begin!”), and another wing-nut .

This from White House press corps is good, though not really about health reform, but the best came from Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack:

'TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the Senate
The Democrats were working for a fundamental tenet:
All Americans should have health care at a reasonable price
By forcing insurance companies to finally play nice.

The reform bill they pushed took some very strong positions,
Like no one denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
Premiums, in the future, would need to be fair
With no differences for women and people needing care.

The Democrats made sure that the bill they designed
Would give folks 'cross the nation some real peace of mind.
Health care would not end if jobs changed or were lost
As all could choose health plans at an affordable cost.

For seniors needing medicines, the bill had much to extol:
It plugged gaps in their coverage, like the bad "doughnut hole."
And for empty-nesting parents, there was reason to rejoice
Kids could keep family coverage, this was now a parent's choice.

But all Republicans scoffed and persistently said "no"
With the sometimes exception of their colleague, Ms. Snowe.
With obstructions and filibusters, they tried every delay
To stop the bill and kill reform, before Christmas day.

So Leader Reid called his colleagues from left and from right,
For all 60 to join him, lest they lose this big fight.
Now Nelson, now Lincoln, now Franken and Wyden,
On Lieberman, on Bingaman, on Harkin and Cardin.

Christmas eve turned to night, and when the votes were all counted,
The filibusters and obstructions were completely surmounted.
The vote was inspired by the memory of Ted
Who'd applaud the victory for the cause he had led.

The work isn't over, there's much yet to be done
The Senate and the House bills must be merged into one.
But the vote on Christmas eve offers reason to cheer
'Cause health care reform will pass in the new year.

So call your fine leaders, and let your voice be heard,
With letters and emails, we must spread the word.
Our message is clear, and it shines a bright light:
"Health care coverage for all, and for all it's our right."

-Brian Rosman