When Wendell Potter founded Tarbell, there was one overriding theme guiding the organization – better, cheaper and more accessible healthcare for all Americans. That mandate has not changed, nor will it change.
Another mandate for our journalism was a commitment to be apolitical. Tarbell is not red or blue because the topics of our conversation with this tremendous platform that Wendell has created are not red or blue – the topics that we address are those that affect citizens from all corners of our nation with no regard for race, religion, wealth, or political view.
The foundations, however, that provide Tarbell the ability to voice our opinions and concerns and to tell our stories are democracy and the right to free speech. Despite the overwhelming desire across the country to address and repair the deficiencies in our healthcare system, I am confident that we can all agree that ensuring that our democratic process remains intact is equally or more important.
It is from this perspective that Tarbell has crossed the line of politics in our recent editorials, social media and campaign coverage. Vice President Biden has not shown the enthusiastic support for Health Care For All for which many of our readers so passionately advocate. But he does understand the problems with the existing healthcare system and has committed to addressing the situation. On the other hand, we have an existing administration that has shown no desire whatsoever to address the issue and has gone to extreme lengths to roll-back the gains that were achieved in healthcare prior to 2016.
Moreover, in addition to the attacks on ObamaCare and the lack of any detailed plan to replace or enhance it, one can genuinely make the case that four more years of President Trump could be harmful to our democratic process. With these two circumstances in mind, Tarbell has made the decision to support one candidate over the other. Neither choice provides much comfort for those of us who believe that health care is a right that should be embedded in our democratic experiment, but one choice will certainly move us further toward the drastically needed improvements in the healthcare system that we demand. The other choice, unfortunately, could compromise the very system that gives Tarbell its voice.
In this case, we have to pick a side that will not only ensure the survival of Tarbell and many other platforms who advocate for better healthcare, equal rights, reasonable stewardship of our environment, and other global issues that will improve the lives of billions of people around the globe, but one that will protect our voices from being marginalized.