Yesterday, while totally focused on other urgent matters (like getting ready for the fair which starts on Friday), I tripped over my manky old apple crate. It just jumped out there and grabbed my ankle and said "I wont let go until you write about this!" So, I climbed back on, standing carefully lest it collapse on me, and wrote.
Cub Scout meetings are always "fun". Me, my assistant R, and half a dozen highly dysfunctional 9-year-old boys in a small room learning about something. Not a setting that normally inspires, but today it did. We are working on our Citizenship badge in Webelos. Today we explored the rights and responsibilities of citizens and how that fits with the scout law, etc. As we talked the boys were interested in voting, how it is a right and a responsibility, what happens when you don't like the people that got elected, how you make them change, etc. It was an interesting discussion, and a good refresher course for me. Voting is a right and a responsibility. Holding the elected official accountable for his/her representation of you is also a right and a responsibility. If we don't do both the system rots.
After about 45 minutes of this discussion, which also ranged into the meaning of the flag, the pledge, and what a republic is, the boys were saturated. We let them out to run for 15 minutes while we waited for parents. While we were waiting R told me about her weekend. She had spent all her time with her mom (age 56, divorced, homeowner, landlord, caregiver, uninsured.) who was undergoing testing on lumps found in both her breasts. Most of the time was spent on the phone trying to find a place to get the testing done for someone without insurance. The rest of the time was spent with the tests and trying to figure out how to pay for them and the treatments that will most likely follow. Depressing!
After I got home and through the evening craziness, I checked in with the cyberworld to see what was happening. One of my favorite bloggers, Jack-of-all-thumbs had posted this. After reading it my brain just started to boil. I guess it was the lecture on the rights and responsibilities of a citizen that did it. I had to act. Today I called his list. I left some pointed messages about my support for a public option and the reasons I thought it was so important. It's not about government takeover of health-care or socialized medicine, its about people like R's mom, or the hundreds of family farmers in my area who work, contribute, vote, but can't afford private insurance. It's about giving people a choice.
If you don't like what's happening in Washington on this issue get Jack's list and call. We elected these people to represent us, to make the hard decisions and do what is right for all the citizens, not just those with fat wallets. It is our right and responsibility to hold them accountable, not just by voting them in or out of office, but by voicing our concerns loudly enough that they have to listen and act.
You are a citizen! It's your right and your responsibility! Act!