July 28, 2014

This week we're going to hear a lot about Paul Ryan's sudden conversion from shamer of the poors to pretend advocate for the poors. But he's just window-dressing. The real work is being done in the streets, by a North Carolina mayor.

Mayor Adam O'Neal is the mayor of a small rural community with one hospital which is now closed. Bellhaven had one hospital, and that hospital was purchased by a chain which then closed it since most residents in Bellhaven don't have the ability to pay for medical care. North Carolina is one of the states which has refused the Medicaid expansion, thanks to Art Pope's position as Governor McCrory's keeper.

Saturday, Mayor O'Neal arrived in Woodbridge, VA at a rally to fight for Medicaid expansion. No major media outlet reported it, despite the fact that the mayor has been joined by Reverend William Barber and other icons of the civil rights movement.

Blue Virginia has a long blog post about O'Neal's rally in Woodbridge with many more videos, including the speech by civil rights legend Bob Zellner, who walked the 273-mile walk with O'Neal:

Zellner notes that he was raised on "L.A. - Lower Alabama." His father and grandfather were both in the KKK, and it was very unlikely he'd ever be part of the civil rights movement, let alone walking 273 miles with a white Republican NC mayor. When he was in college, he met Martin Luther King, Jr and Rosa Parks, and he joined the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee as the first white southerner to be a field secretary for that organization. What Mayor O'Neal is doing is in the mainstream of the human rights and civil rights movements. "I recognize greatness when I see it...this man is the most determined individual that I've ever met." What's happened in NC is that we have the "Moral Mondays" movement under the leadership of Rev. Barber and the NAACP. The mayor was doing what he was doing already, and he knows that what Vidant has done is a racist situation in his own town, because at least 60% of the people in the town are African Americans. He's brave to say that. We're going to Washington to fight for rural health care. Mayor O'Neal personifies reaching across the aisle, he's captured the imagination of the American people.

I'd like to think he's captured the imagination of the American people, and I think he would if they actually knew about it.

Spread the word.

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