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Is Jesse Jackson Wrong About 'Obamacare'?

The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for the U.S. Postal Service)
The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for the U.S. Postal Service)

Writing at BET, Keith Boykin dissects the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.'s recent tweet that Obamacare is a derogatory term coined by failed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney that should be retired. No matter what it's called, Boykin argues, it's time to put the beleaguered law to work.

Rev. Jesse Jackson made an unusual announcement this week. On Tuesday, he posted the following message on Twitter: "Stop calling the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, it is a put down to distract us from the true Health Care issues it solves."

The post was a bit surprising, considering commentators on all sides of the political spectrum have begun using the term synonymously with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act …

The word "Obamacare" seems to have begun derisively as a way for conservatives to associate health care reform with a president who they considered to be unpopular. Opponents were so successful at branding the law with the term that eventually the media, and later the White House, started using it as well. It seemed a brilliant, albeit cynical, political move …

Remember, Republicans are geniuses at naming controversial things. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan's team came up with the seemingly oxymoronic term "peacekeeper missile" to justify new defense spending. In the 2000s, President George W. Bush developed the "Healthy Forests Initiative," which expanded the rights of logging companies to chop down trees, and the "Clear Skies Act," which expanded the rights of polluters …

Rev. Jackson's certainly got a point about the derogatory use of the term Obamacare. But now is not the time to stop using it. Now is the time to make it work.


Read Keith Boykin's entire piece at BET.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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