Most of the time I try to keep things relatively light in my blog, however, I wanted to post about something that to some might be semi-political. I've heard a lot of complaining about President Obama's health bill, and I've heard a lot of folks declaring their support. I personally support it and the reasons are almost too numerous to mention them all. Namely, I've seen what lack of health care or fear of losing health care can do to people. Personally, I've seen my family members have to go without health care while hoping and praying that they stay well and safe because an illness or accident would mean certain financial ruin. My step-sister and her husband went two years without any insurance for themselves because her employer ditched her while she was pregnant and her husband lost his job. With two kids at home, their outlook was grim if anything happened. Fortunately they were ok.
But what about people who are stuck? What about my brother's best friend who has a little boy that was born with a kidney abnormality. Because his child was born with a pre-existing condition, he is deemed uninsurable. And the family makes too much money to qualify for Medicaid benefits. What would this family do if something happened with their little boy? This is an "upper middle class" family, much like my own. The problem is that "upper middle class" doesn't mean much anymore. With mortgage costs, student loans, day care, etc, etc...there is very little left over to afford the finer things in life anymore. By the finer things I mean emergency funds for health care treatment for a child who can't help how he was born.
I asked my grandmother, a lifelong democrat, former school teacher and all around God-fearing woman and (to be balanced) my mother, a conservative Christian, to share their thoughts on what the health bill means to them. Both support the bill. But wait, you ask, how can two evangelical Christians be in support of the health bill? I will let them explain in their own words.
First, from my Grandma:
Even though I have taught our 31 year old pastor not to be overt in his political views from the pulpit, He could not resist quoting a variety of sources , including Margaret Sanger, out of context, and in a way that must have puzzled most of the congregation ; as those under 60 probably don't know who she she was anyhow . But I realized where he was heading right away....so when he couldn't resist throwing in a reference to "death panels " , I made sure I got in the middle of those lining up to shake his hand. That must have surprised him ; as I usually avoid the process.
I clasped his hand firmly ; and looking him in the eye , I proclaimed , " This is a great day ! "
He agreed that yes, indeed it was a great day . " And ,"I continued , " Now I am going home and watch the Democrats pass the health bill. And I shall rejoice !"
I could hear the gasps and the giggles as I passed through the door. I had planned it so that there would be witnesses...
The preliminaries were just getting started when I turned on the TV . I watched and listened to every speaker, every desperate effort by the Republicans to scotch the wheels as the steam roller continued to the very end. For something this big , I will not depend on MSNBC and certainly not FOX ; nor am I interested in the "talking heads" giving their interpretation. I have listened and read for myself . I have made the phone calls to the legislators, attended the local debates, and written the letters. I am happy to say that our "blue dog " Congressman DID vote YES on the final passage.
I am so happy that back in 1959, I made the decision to move to Michigan to pursue my teaching career. The decision was partially based on the fact that Michigan was a Union State. Walter Reuther was one of my heroes. The Governor at the time was G. Mennen Williams , and Michigan was in a recession cycle . Much to my chagrin, I found that the only union organized teachers were in Detroit. I was a member of the Democratric State Central Committee when we passed PA 369 giving the teachers the right to organize and form a bargaining unit . In short order I joined the negotiating team (1 female ,5 males ) ; and when the WLEA did not implement the contract we had got, I ran for president. From there I became president of all Oakland County teachers .
Along the way, we got good, even cadillac , health care benefits, which I still have today. So I am and have been covered ; and since I have it, I want all people to have the same opportunity . Now Theresa Joy 's parents don't have to worry that she may never be able to get health care because of a pre-existing condition at birth. Now , Eddy (my cousin who lost his kidneys years ago) can have choices to enhance his life...and Andrew (aka Bam-Bam) cannot be denied future insurance because of his allergies. As Nancy Pelosi said, "No longer will being female be a preexisting condition to deny coverage." Believe it or not, there are states that permit insurance companies to deny coverage for illnesses that are related to being a woman. Until recently, Tennessee was one of them.
While I was typing this, I had the opportunity to call Congressman Gordon and thank him for his vote and to cite for him the above situations in my own family.
Thank you, Grandma, for sharing this with all of us.
Now, from my Mom. Admittedly my mother and I have a difficult relationship but I have to tell you that I am extremely proud of her for standing up for what she believes in. She runs in a very conservative Christian circle and lives in the Bible belt. It can't be easy for her, in her circle, to stand up and be different. I'm sure her friends that are aware of her stance think she's nuts. But while they're still sending around ridiculous emails about Obama being a Muslim and conspiracy theories that he is un-American, she has stood up to say - ENOUGH! In her words, here is what the health bill means to her:
In Luke 10:25-37, the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus' own red-letter words tell us how we should treat others. When asked by an expert in (Jewish) law what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus replied with a question, "What is written in the Law?" The expert answered that the Law states to love God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind (Deut. 6:5) and to love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18). The expert continued to challenge Jesus by saying, " And who is my neighbor?" That's when Jesus goes on to tell the story:
A man was on a journey and got attacked by thieves. They stole his money and his clothes and beat him severely and left him to die at the side of the road. A priest passed by and, not wanting to "get involved", went by on the other side. A Levite (another religious official) passed by and did the same. Then a Samaritan (who was a member of a people of that day that were not thought well of because they were of mixed race) came to where the man was. When he saw him, he took pity on him. He bandaged & medicated his wounds, hoisted him onto his donkey and took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day, he paid the innkeeper two silver coins and ask him to continue his care. He also promised to reimburse him for any extra expense that he incurred.
Then Jesus said, "Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him." Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."
As a Christian, a follower of Jesus, I see supporting healthcare reform as one way for me to have mercy on my neighbor. For a while I was confused about this issue because I let myself listen to the "priests and Levites" of my conservative circle, but when I finally asked God to show me the truth and I sought answers in the Bible, Jesus' teaching made the truth clear.
Couldn't have said it better myself, Mom.
So, now you know something about why I support health care reform. This is my story. This change is the reason why in Fall of '08 I would put my baby to bed at 8PM and head to Obama campaign headquarters to make phone calls for an hour or two. Every night that I did that, there was someone on the phone that was touched by this issue and desperately needed, wanted and asked for change. And *GASP* the President actually kept his promise. I am proud of President Obama for following through and seeking ways to make this happen for the people who put him in office, and even for the people who didn't.
And now I'm all done with my political soap box.