Friday, October 15, 2010

Political Activism

I’ve been a social and political activist since the Clinton Administration when I worked for a lady named Dr. Gail C. Christopher. We ended up moving to DC where we worked with the Howard School of Divinity Information Clearing House where we helped churches develop programs to take up some of the slack for social program cuts; Americans All, a multi-cultural education program that Gail designed and for which she wrote the curriculum and traveled around the country teaching faculty to use it; and the Alliance for Redesigning Government which was Al Gore’s pet project at the time.

I was almost planning not to vote this year despite really strong feelings about the subject. I believe it’s our civic duty to vote, not just a privilege, but I was really disenchanted with President Obama because I felt he hadn’t made as much progress as I’d hoped. A volunteer called me and not only did she persuade me to vote after all; she got me to volunteer to go out and make phone calls as well. If I don’t like what’s happening in Springfield or on the Hill, I don’t have the right to gripe if I didn’t vote. If I don’t know who to vote for, I certainly know which way I want to vote on issues.

I’d like to have trees and clean energy and water and our current coastlines intact for my great-grandchildren to enjoy. I’d like everyone to be able to afford health care. I don’t want anyone to ever have to tie a string around a door and kick it like I did when Bush was in office and no one was willing to tell me I could get dental work done through Public Health. I think that if a woman needs to have an abortion, she should be able to have it in a clean clinic with an MD and real nurses and she should be able to survive it. If you want to know what it was like when I was a teenager and thought I may be pregnant, watch Dirty Dancing. If I'd been pregnant, I would probably have committed suicide and not bothered with the back-room abortionist. It would have been faster, less expensive, and easier than facing my mother. We don't need to go back to that world.

So there I was in a room with a whole, walloping four other volunteers when someone came in and told us our Congresswoman, Melissa Bean, was having dinner next door and we should come over and say hi. I was actually on my way out because I hadn’t eaten in something like eight hours—a long time for a diabetic. One of the other people making calls paid for my supper (fifteen dollars) and we went over to meet her. Melissa’s a darling girl, probably not much older than Elizabeth. She believes in the same things I do, and she’s a hugger. This was a coffee shop meeting with her staffers. There was no podium, only sixteen people in a restaurant that’s owned by a gay couple, so of course the decor was exquisite and the food was wonderful. We all gathered around a lovely antique dining room table and chatted about the issues. Not only that, but they’re shooting a commercial Sunday about Veterans and I’m going to be in it!

My Congressman downstate represented Big Business and seemed not to care about his constituents at all. I was afraid to deliver petitions single-handedly, because I might have gone off on him and ended up either in jail or back on the locked ward at the VA-- neither of which would have done whatever cause I was representing any good. I plan to make calls three nights a week until Election Day. I’m really excited about re-electing my Congresswoman now, and less ambiguous about the other candidates as well.

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