No sympathy here

I feel no sympathy for Mika Brzezenski.

There, I said it.

Mika and her partner in crime and fiance, Joe Scarborough, spent the entire presidential campaign sucking up to the Republican candidate. They had him on their show for what amounted to hours of free, unchallenged air time.

They are part of the reason the election was close enough for the Republicans to steal.

Instead of denouncing his mean-spiritedness and misogyny throughout the campaign (and it is there and highly evident throughout this awful creature’s career), they allowed him a pass, just as most of the rest of American corporate media did.

They allowed him to lie without demanding the truth be told. They allowed him to spew racism and sexism and never confronted him about it.

He was entertaining, they thought. He made people laugh. I mean, what were the chances he would actually win the White House? Why not have a little fun instead of being so serious all the time? What harm could it do, right?

Well, here’s the harm that happens when we don’t take elections or public policy seriously.

Mika loses her self respect and 22 million Americans stand to lose their health care. The Orange One and his cronies are trying to stage an unprecedented attack on voter rights. Thank God many of the states are resisting.

Every single cabinet position — except for those having to do with the military — is occupied by someone who wants to dismantle his or her department. Every damn one. Education, Energy, Interior … They have stolen a Supreme Court seat and filled it with a right-wing ideologue, affecting public policy for a generation or more. They are trashing treaties and other agreements, showing utter disrespect for other world leaders and otherwise acting like a bunch of sugar-addicted toddlers loosed, unsupervised, into a candy store.

But poor Mika had to read a sexist tweet directed at her.

How about the sexist policies we all have to live with — defunding of women’s health clinics, withdrawal of access to birth control, unequal pay and unequal treatment in the workplace and in public policy, decisions about my health care being made by old white men who hate me because I demand equality — shouldn’t we also add that into the mix?

Mika is not solely responsible for the Orangini Tweeter, but she bears some of the blame. She could have challenged his lies or not allowed him air time if he insisted on lying. She wouldn’t have allowed Hillary or any other Democrat to get away with that kind of behavior.

It’s time the media started ignoring this giant asshole’s tweets. Just don’t report on them. Pretend they don’t exist. They are not newsworthy when compared to the damage he is trying to do to our nation.

Let’s pay attention to the abhorrent attempts to shred what’s left of our social safety net.

Let’s heed the warnings of climate scientists.

Let’s pay attention to the massive increase in our military budget as we march, inexorably toward all-out war.

Let’s call bullshit on his election commission’s attempt to collect our personal information so they can purge Democrats from the rolls.

Let’s wake up and stop looking at what my late son called “sparkly issues.” We must pay attention to what’s happening to our nation. It may be too late to save it already.

 

We haven’t won yet

Photo by the Washington Post.
The Senate will try again to take away our health care. Stay focused.

Our radical legislators are not done trying to take away our access to health care.

The Senate version of Trumpcare would leave much of the structure of the Affordable Care Act in place, but it would remove all the protections and many of the subsidies.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates some 22 million people would lose coverage, and with it, their access to health care.

It gets worse. The bill would effectively dismantle Medicaid, much of which would happen after the 10-year time limit of the CBO’s assessment, so it isn’t obvious.

I don’t know how to teach these people that human life should matter more than making a political point.

I don’t know how to get it through to them that no human being deserves to die the way my son did, and that to be pro-life, one has to support life after it exits the birth canal.

I’ve been away visiting family for the last two weeks, and unable to get to the protests and other actions surrounding this issue. I needed the break because I’m so exhausted from trying to get through to these people and being blown off, arrested and/or ridiculed as some kind of fringe maniac.

That’s part of how they convince people to vote against their own best interests — they vilify opponents. They don’t treat anyone who disagrees with them with any respect, as though anyone would be crazy to disagree with them.

The occupant of the White House screams that all the media are corrupt and calls anything other than what he wants you to hear “fake news.”

They tell us that we should fear Muslims, even though we are immensely more likely to be killed by a white man with a legal gun.

They tell us they shouldn’t have to pay their fair share of taxes and that we the people don’t deserve to make enough to live on, that anyone who wants anything from government is a “taker.”

When I tell these right-wing radicals how my son died, their first question isn’t, “How can something like this happen in 21st century America?” but “Was he working?”

What kind of a question is that? Was he working?

Since when did unemployment become punishable by death?

And while we’re on the subject of the death penalty, I’m heartsick over the release of police officers who killed three black people. On video. For no reason other than, “I was scared.”

Sorry, buddy, you’re the cop. You’re the one with the training. You just pulled him over for a minor violation. You need to remember that a minor violation is in no way punishable by death under our penal code, and you are the one given the responsibility for upholding those penal codes.

But we’re distracted when we’re told that the kid might just have stolen some cigars, or there was the smell of marijuana in his car. Oh, so the cop was just defending himself against, what? A petty thief? A minor drug offender?

It’s what they’re trying to do with health care: Convince us that poor people can just get a job to get health insurance. But when 22 million of us face the loss of access to care, we begin to have enough numbers to call them on their bullshit.

Then we hear the dangerous stories like that of my son, an honest, hardworking, decent, smart, funny man, who died because a birth defect was a pre-existing condition and he could be denied insurance coverage because of that.

We hear about the young woman sent home after an auto accident, not admitted because, even though she had a head injury and should have been admitted for observation, she had no insurance. She died in the night.

We hear about the woman with Type 2 diabetes who can’t afford her glucose testing supplies because she doesn’t have insurance. Her blood glucose goes out of control, and even though she’s trying to manage with diet and exercise, she has no idea whether it’s working. One day while at work, she collapses. She’s had a devastating stroke and now lives, completely disabled, in a nursing home, where Medicaid pays about $180,000 a year for her care. Her grandchildren will never know the woman she was.

When you throw 22 million people off of health care, when you attack a program that pays the nursing home bills for little old ladies with disabilities, when the infant mortality rate climbs high enough, people start to notice.

They will be back with this bill. They will not give up.

We have to be vigilant.

We have to look away from the sparkly wee-hours-from-the-bathroom tweet from #45 and remember that they’re coming for our health care.

They’re coming for our health care.

 

 

My letter to my senator on the ACHA

Me and Mike on his wedding day. Damn, I miss him.

 

I faxed this letter to Sen. Thom Tillis yesterday. Perhaps, if he reads it, he might understand that real people, innocent people, die when they can’t gain access to health care. I sent a similar letter to Richard Burr. Please, please, call, fax, e-mail or visit the offices of your senators.

Senator Tillis,

I think you probably know who I am. I am the mother of a young man who died because he lacked access to health care. You had me arrested for trying to speak to you when you were Speaker of the House in North Carolina about the importance of access to health care. You were one of the leaders in the fight to withhold Medicaid from a half million people in this state, sentencing some 2,000 of them to death every year.

The ACA would have saved my son’s life because it forces insurance companies to not punish people who have pre-existing conditions.

My son had a birth defect. Like many young people, he decided to take a year off college when he was 19. Little did we know this common decision would be a fatal one for him. He was booted off my policy and then discovered he couldn’t buy insurance at any price because a birth defect is a pre-existing condition – as though he had decided as a zygote to have a birth defect.

This birth defect left him extremely vulnerable to an aggressive form of colon cancer, and he needed a colonoscopy every year. When he lived in New York, he had a doctor who would allow him to pay for his colonoscopies in monthly installments. By age 25, he had already had pre-cancerous polyps removed, so he had a near certainty of developing cancer if he couldn’t get his annual colonoscopies. But when he moved so he and his wife could go back to college, he discovered he could not get a colonoscopy unless he paid $2,300 in cash up front. No credit cards, no checks, no installments, nothing.

When he got sick he went to the ER three times and came away with three wrong diagnoses, three wrong medications and three large bills. You see – and I’m sure you know this – the emergency room only has to stabilize you; it does not have to look for the cause of your problem.

By the time anyone did anything, my son had stage 3 cancer. It was too late to save his life.

My son was a student, he worked 30 hours a week and he was a volunteer. He was an extraordinary young man.

But none of that mattered. He was sentenced to death – a slow and excruciating death – for having a birth defect. He had to leave his wife to get Medicaid and although he had applied for disability when he first became sick, his approval took 37 months and he was dead nine days before his first check arrived.

I tell you this story because, at the time he died, 45,000 Americans were dying every year from lack of access to health care, according to a study by Harvard Medical School that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The ACA has saved more than half of those lives. The uninsured rate in this country right now is at an historic low. The law is saving tens of thousands of lives every year, and to repeal it is tantamount to murder.

No, that statement is not overstating things. You are working on killing more than 25,000 innocent Americans every year. Those are human beings, Senator, and their lives matter a whole lot to me and to all the people who love them.

I have to face every damn day without my beloved son. I get up every morning longing to hear his voice again, devastated that I will never laugh at another one of his outrageous jokes or taste his cooking or have another late-night conversation about philosophy with him. I will never hear him tease me about being a Red Sox fan, or look for my chocolate stash only to discover he found it and left me just one little piece.

Perhaps it’s time to turn your back on your corporate overlords and become truly pro-life. Vote no on repealing the ACA. Vote to save the lives of the people who will die without insurance.

You have to know what you’re about to do is wrong.

If you go ahead with this, I hope and pray that you will burn in hell.

Leslie Boyd
Candler, NC

Sign the petition, and nothing will happen

Rep. John Ager is another of the representatives we elected from what was supposed to be a safe Republican district. We did not do it by signing online petitions, but by making phone calls and knocking on doors and getting out the vote. Here, John is speaking to the crowd of about 200 people at the March for Truth.

 

I don’t even keep count of how many times I’ve been asked to sign one or another online petition, as though it would make any difference at all in public policy.

Let me be honest here — I don’t ever sign them because they are meaningless. Government lawmakers and policymakers don’t give a damn about what we think. They care only about the people who fund their campaigns. That’s it.

Every time someone posts a petition on my timeline on Facebook, I explain that I don’t sign online petitions, and people argue that of course signing a meaningless petition is “taking action.”

No, it isn’t. Sitting at your computer and typing in your name and address is effortless, and the people in power know that. You risk nothing because you have done nothing. They know you’re not likely to get off your butt and take any real action.

A million signatures is one thing, but a million faxes, phone calls, e-mails or visits from real human beings shows them we mean business.

If you want to fill out a form that makes a difference, fill out a voter registration form, and follow it up by filling out a ballot. That’s what will make a difference.

Work to get a worthy candidate elected. Make phone calls, knock on doors. You can make phone calls after work, even for a half hour once a week. Get that candidate’s name out there.

I know this works because I live in the most gerrymandered district in the most gerrymandered state in the nation. In 2014, our Republican state representative was considered safer than anyone. He was going to be the next Speaker of the NC House.

But then something amazing happened. We, his constituents, got mad. Enough was enough. He refused to listen to us, hearing instead only the monied interests who had paid for his election.

I made calls, I showed up to knock on doors, and registered Republicans were happy to hear someone was running against him. People turned out to vote, and we sent that little weasel home.

That was in 2014. So, what happened to the seat in 2016? The Republicans couldn’t find anyone to oppose Brian Turner. He ran unopposed.

Across the county, Nathan Ramsey, a moderate Republican, was elected in 2012, and he was bullied into voting with the extreme right wing of the party.

Something good happened there, too: John Ager, a farmer who had never been in politics, decided to run. Again, his supporters worked hard and he won, both in 2014 and 2016. And no one ever signed an online petition saying his election would be a good thing.

These people who are trashing our Democracy think they’re safe. They don’t care what we want and no petition is going to change their behavior. The only way to make things better is to send them home, and you don’t do that with online petitions.

So, go ahead, sit at your desk and type in your name on meaningless petition after meaningless petition, and do you know what will change?

Not a damn thing, that’s what.

I know the petitions’ sponsors want you to think differently, but petitions are what they use to raise money. You sign their petition decrying the injustice du jour and then a screen pops up asking you to donate money, so — what? They can generate more petitions?

Get up off your butt and get out there. Attend a march, meet other human beings who share your interests and work with them to make change. Meet and talk to the candidates who are opposing those in power. Find out how you can help.

We don’t all have to engage in civil disobedience and get arrested. There are plenty of ways to be active without risking arrest. But we all need to find real ways to contribute because Democracy is participatory, and signing an online petition is not participating, it’s lazy.

 

 

Arrested — again

I spoke at the press conference an hour or so after being released from jail, with Rev. Barber standing nearby. I am so proud to be a part of this movement. Arrest me all you want, I refuse to stop trying to talk to legislators about health care as a basic human right.

 

On Tuesday morning, I got my butt hauled off to jail for the third time in four years.

I wanted to talk to Senate leader Phil Berger, as is my right under the North Carolina Constitution, but when I got to his office, a very large man was standing in the doorway, blocking my entrance.

“You can’t go in there, it’s private,” he said.

“No it’s not,” I said. “This is a public building and the person whose office this is, is a public official. I have a Constitutional right to speak to him.”

“He’s not in here.”

“Well, then, I’ll wait.”

He continued to block the entrance and several of us began to chant, “Health care NOW!”

At this point another man came to stand by the first one.

“You need to be quiet,” he said. “People are trying to work.”

I stared at him or a short moment.

“HEALTH CARE NOW!” I said, looking him straight in the eye, and those behind me joined in the chant.

I don’t like to be shushed in any case, but I get particularly testy when lives are at stake, and they most certainly are here. Some five people are dying every single say because Sen. Berger and his cronies are denying the Medicaid expansion provided for under the Affordable Care Act. This denial leaves a half million people in our state without access to care, and as I said, about five of them die every day, just the way my son did.

I’m not going into the General Assembly Building for entertainment or any frivolous purpose; I’m going in there to try and speak to my legislators about how desperately this Medicaid expansion is needed.

These people call them selves “pro-life” and “Christian,” yet their actions show a callous disregard for human life.

Rev. Barber stood with us as most of us sat down on the floor to wait for Sen. Berger to come back to his office.

We were told we were blocking the doorway, but we were not the ones doing that. We would have gone in and sat quietly and waited, but the door was blocked by his thugs, not by us.

We were told we were making too much noise, but I explained that people’s lives are more important than the ability of Berger’s secretary to hear who was on the other end of the phone line, and that if they would let us in, we would sit quietly an wait.

So, we started singing to pass the time.

“We shall not, we shall not be moved
“We shall not, we shall not be moved
“Just like a tree, planted by the water,
“We shall not be moved.

We’re fighting for our health care, we shall not be moved
“We’re fighting for our health care, we shall not be moved
“Just like a tree, planted by the water,
“We shall not be moved.”

Chief Martin Brock came by with a megaphone and warned us we had to leave, but we were there to address legislative leaders, as is our right under the NC Constitution, and we intended to do just that.

So, we were arrested, 32 of us, for second-degree trespass in a public building while it was open to the public. This is my third arrest for this same thing. The first one was thrown out on appeal. They never even bothered to prosecute me for the second arrest and there’s a petition to dismiss the charges because I never got a court date.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again, hoping for different results. Perhaps I am insane for trying again and again to make these lawmakers see that their actions are killing the very people they have sworn to serve. But I will not give up.

We spent an hour or so in a committee meeting room in the legislature building, singing freedom songs and hymns, before we were herded into vans and taken to the Wake County Detention Center, where we were processed and placed in holding cells.

I don’t know about the men, but we women started singing again. An officer told us we had to quiet down, so we sang a little more quietly. We had a contest to see who could stand on one foot the longest. We comforted a very frightened young woman who had been arrested for driving without a license, and we laughed.

We had been without food all day by the time we were released at about 4:30, so we were grateful to find snacks and water, brought by the Movement support team.

And we made it back downtown in time for the 6 p.m. press conference.

I love my Moral Monday Movement family, from our convener, Rev. William Barber, to all the people who stand with him in solidarity, no matter what our issues.

I’ll be honest: I believe this movement and the people in it have saved my life. There have been days I didn’t want to go on without my son, but these good people have held me up. I feel reborn every time I am with them. When I lose hope, someone always reaches out to support me and tell me we will triumph.

Progress is slow. Movements take time. I’m in this until we finish the work or until I’m carried out feet-first.

 

I can’t believe I’m still protesting this …

Photo by Phil Fonville. We gathered on Bicentennial Mall in Raleigh Tuesday to protest the lack of affordable health care for a half million people in this state.

 

I realized a couple weeks ago that I’ve been protesting war, poverty and misogyny for a half century.

I mentioned it to Rev. William Barber, who will leave the NC NAACP presidency next month to head the resurrection of Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign. King started the Poor People’s Campaign 50 years ago, and now I get to work with Rev. Barber to help revive it.

Rev. Barber, who’s 10 years younger than I am, just smiled, put his arm around my shoulders and told me he loves me for my passion.

A half century of trying to make things better and we’re headed right back to where we started, with incarceration as the new slavery, with women being shut out from decisions about their bodies, with voting rights skewed toward the wealthy and white, with children going to bed hungry, elders having to choose between food and vital medications, with wages far too low to cover necessities, with the poor and sick blamed for their plight and with war looming on the horizon.

I am horrified by the state of things, but I cannot give up. I stand with the photo of my late son and explain to anyone who asks that he died from lack of access to care.

So, even in the pouring rain, I went to the rally, and, as so often happens at Moral Monday rallies, the rain let up for the two hours we were there.

But, as so often happens with Moral Monday events, the legislators left early and locked up the building rather than risk having to talk to any of us. So, we had a huge poster with a few facts about what their refusal to expand Medicaid has done to this state, and the 200-plus people who attended the rally each signed it.

We left it tacked to the front door of the building as the chief off the General Assembly police looked on. It’s OK — he’s used to us and seems to bear us no ill will, but he will arrest us if told to do so. He has arrested me twice — so far.

Anyway, because we couldn’t get into the building last night, we will be back next Tuesday, and we will go into the building and sit down and wait to address our legislators, as is our right under the North Carolina State Constitution. They might arrest us again, but we will not back down. Lives are at stake here — a half million of them.

If you want to participate in the sit-in, be at the Bicentennial Mall (across the street from the General Assembly Building) at 10 a.m. next Tuesday. If you can’t participate in the sit-in, you can still attend the health care rally at 6 p.m.

 

 

 

Roger Ailes is dead, thank God

Yes, I know we’re not supposed to speak ill of the dead, and I never wished him dead, but I’m relieved he’s gone.

This is a man who lead the charge on the dismantling of our Democracy. Ever since he made Richard Nixon look pretty, he has led America down the path of fascism disguised as conservatism.

My father was a conservative, but he never denied science. He knew the dangers of pollution and climate change. He knew poor people needed a hand sometimes and that workers deserved a living wage.

My father didn’t want to know what went on behind people’s bedroom doors because it was none of his business, and the only marriage he worried about was his own. He was happy to pay into Social Security and Medicaid, even though he only lived to age 67.

My father was a newsman who never watched Fox News because, even though he was conservative, he could spot a lie a mile away, and Fox News was all about lies.

Roger Ailes built a “news” channel that peddled lies about climate change, about taxes, about immigrants, about the “need” for wars and about poor people.

In this most recent election, the lies were about Hillary Clinton. The e-mail server she used was the same kind of server used by Colin Powell when he was Secretary of State, but Fox never mentioned that.

Three Americans died in Benghazi, and that’s a tragedy, but more than 50 Americans died at embassies around the world under George W. Bush. and that was never mentioned on Fox. Some 250 US Marines died in Beirut in the early 1980s and Ronald Reagan took responsibility, although no one criticized him or called him a criminal because of it.

Ailes, himself a sexual predator, may not have supported the sexual predator in chief before the Republican National Convention, but once the nomination was secure, Ailes allowed the criminal who currently occupies the White House to slide on any number of issues so that Republicans could take power once again.

Ailes was never punished for his crimes. He was fired from Fox News, but he died a free — and wealthy — man.

The lies his network perpetuated allowed the current occupant of the White House to get there. Slowly, over the course of many years, Fox News has misinformed Americans and encouraged people to dismiss the truth as “the other side of the story.”

This is largely why I left the news business. I was being pressured to quote Tea Party lies as “the other side of the story,” when they were lies, pure and simple. If I quoted them, I also debunked them because sometimes “the other side of the story” is nothing more than a bald-faced lie.

He led Americans to deny science and to the view that a belief holds as much weight as a fact.

The Earth is billions of years old, not 6,000.

Evolution is real; creationism is a myth.

Climate change is real, so real that our planet could become uninhabitable from the changes in 100 years or so.

But Ailes’ followers continue to fight — and vote — against their own best interests.

When you cut taxes on the wealthy, nothing trickles down.

When workers don’t make a living wage, the economy suffers because nobody can afford to buy anything.

Poor people are not lazy.

Unions protected workers from the unfettered greed of the 1 percent.

These things are all true, even though Fox tells people every day that they are not, and people believe it.

One study showed that people who watch Fox News exclusively knew less than people who watch no news at all.

Ailes knew that if he could divide people, if he could make “ordinary” people hate the “elites,” he and his cronies could win. He was stunningly successful, and that’s why we have a mentally ill criminal in the White House, and a Speaker of the House who brags he wanted to kill Medicaid when he was a college frat boy getting trashed at keg parties.

The damage done by this one man is hard to measure. I never wished him dead, but I’m relieved he’s gone.

 

Telling the story, over and over

Speaking at a town hall to which my congressman was invited, but chose not to attend.

Three times on Friday and Saturday, I told the story of the death of my son.

It never gets easier. It’s emotionally exhausting, yet I work to find places to speak and people willing to listen because his is the face of the injustice inherent in our so-called health care system.

I stood alone outside the federal office building in Asheville Friday at noon as people at the stoplight honked their approval (this was the first time I’ve done this that no one flipped me off or said rude things). Then I packed up and went to a “listening” session sponsored by the NC Department of Health and Human Services, which is trying to put the best face possible on the legislature’s planned dismantling of Medicaid here in North Carolina.

The right-wing agenda of the legislature has been the shredding of our social safety net ever since they took power in 2010. They have refused to even consider expanding Medicaid and have chosen instead to privatize it, to farm it out to their corporate friends, who will line their pockets with some of the limited funds meant to help people in need.

I listened to a woman who is blind talk about losing her job, and with it, her access to health care, because North Carolina refuses to allow access to health care to people who live below the federal poverty level.

I listened to another woman talk about trying to recover from a horrible accident while having no access to care because, even though she has obvious disabilities related to the accident, she has been denied both Medicaid and disability. I heard her vow, tearfully, to continue her fight.

Like these two women, my son was not lazy, nor was he to blame in any way for his condition. He didn’t choose to have a birth defect that left him vulnerable to colon cancer. He didn’t choose not to buy insurance — that was decided for him by greedy corporate hacks who saw no profit in him. In fact, no one saw a profit in him until he had stage 3 colon cancer and needed chemotherapy. That’s when he became eligible for Medicaid (but only after he left his wife), and the drug companies collected more than a half million dollars while my son waited for approval for disability. He would not live to see a penny of it — his approval took 37 months and he was dead nine days when his first check arrived.

This state destroyed a decent mental health system a dozen years ago when it privatized services. I know because I was the one reporter in the state who covered it from the beginning. I watched as people who needed help were denied services. I watched as the state made change after change after change to the system, never allowing it to stabilize. I watched as people died.

When I returned to work after the death of my son, I found an e-mail telling me about the deaths of three young men who died within weeks after being released from state psychiatric hospitals without follow-up plans. One of them was released and dropped off at a homeless shelter that had been closed for months. He landed in a fleabag motel, where, in utter despair, he took his own life.

No policymakers cared until the day the story ran. Then they announced a policy change: No one would be released from a state psychiatric hospital without a follow-up appointment with a psychiatrist and enough medication to carry them over to that appointment.

It took more than the three deaths — it took public outrage over those three deaths — to change policy.

Stories are powerful. Stories matter. That’s why I continue to tell my son’s story.

I told his story again on Saturday, at a Town Hall to which Mark Meadows, our member of Congress, was invited, but to which he didn’t come.

I talked about Mike’s experience not getting what he needed, even from the emergency room. I explained that the ER only has to stabilize patients, not look for or address the root cause.

Two women came up to me after I spoke and told me I was wrong. I explained again how the ER only has to stabilize patients and they insisted what my son got was treatment.

“No, he didn’t,” I said. “He left the ER with the wrong diagnosis, the wrong medications and a big bill three times. What he needed was a diagnosis of the malignant tumor that was blocking his colon.”

“I’ve studied this,” one of them said to me.

“I’ve read the laws and written about it for three decades,” I told her. “You are wrong.”

She tried again to tell me I was wrong, and I just turned and walked away. Some people refuse to hear the truth and I can’t waste my time trying to get through to them.

After that, as I stood fuming about how ignorant people can be, a woman walked up to me and said, “You’re probably going to think I’m crazy, but I have a message from your son. He’s really, really proud of you. He stands behind you as you speak, and he’s smiling.”

I decided to not think she’s crazy. I need to feel his presence whenever I can. I need for him to not be completely gone from me.

So, I tell his story. In his memory, I work for access to health care for every human being, and I won’t stop until we’re done.

They think it’s a joke; I beg to differ

These are the people who just voted to gut your health care. Remember this in 2018. They all need to be sent home. Every damn one of them.

At a town hall in Idaho’s First Congressional District, Rep. Raul Labrador, a Republican, claimed no one dies from lack of access to care. The moment was broadcast on CNN.

“No one dies from lack of access to health care.”

I have news for you, you ignorant thug; you can pretend all you want that your vote to eviscerate the health care of more than 24 million people with this draconian bill won’t cause any harm, but the reality is that you will be responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Americans.

I was advised to have an abortion when I was pregnant with my son, Michael, because I’d contracted a rare virus and no one knew what problems it might cause. I chose (notice I have emphasized that word) to continue the pregnancy and I adored my son, despite the birth defect that would make it impossible for him to buy insurance, and with it, access to the care he needed.

His doctors chose to deny him the treatment he needed. That choice led directly to his death. That’s the truth, Raul. My son died as a direct result of the health care system you just voted to re-break.

This is my son, Mike, a very wise young man. I continue to be influenced and informed by his compassion and love.

If you and your cronies think you won’t be held responsible, think again. You now have made us so angry, so desperate to get rid of you and your ilk, that gerrymandering won’t protect all of you.

Come Judgement Day (I stopped believing in this many years ago, but I am reviving my belief in the hope that it will happen), you will be held accountable and you will be cast into the pits of hell (another belief I am reviving in hopes you and your murdering cronies will land there).

I already have told my representative, Mark Meadows, the same thing in a fax and in a comment on his happy post on Facebook.

We are coming for you, I told him. We have an opponent who can beat him, I think, a smart, charismatic, passionate and compassionate man named Matt Coffay. I don’t donate to political candidates as a rule, but I have donated to Matt and I will work as hard as I can to get him elected.

The very soul of our nation is at stake here. Are we a nation that cares about human life and wants to alleviate human suffering, or do these murdering thugs truly represent us?

I will once again carry voter registration forms with me everywhere I go. I will register even more than the 50 or so voters I registered for the last election. I will drive people to the polls. I will speak out against this despicable attempt to steal access to health care from the 33 million people who gained insurance under the Affordable Care Act because I am pro-life.

 

 

 

 

Murder. That’s what ‘repeal and replace’ really is.

“You die and you die and you die …”

The House will vote today on whether to murder tens of thousands of innocent Americans.

While you might not think the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and a replacement that takes health insurance away from some 24 million Americans is murder, but it is the premeditated removal of access to health care.

In my book, that’s murder, just as the death of my son was.

My son didn’t have to die. He shouldn’t have died. But he was denied insurance because a birth defect was a pre-existing condition. Because he didn’t have insurance and he didn’t have thousands of dollars in cash, he was denied care.

Think about this for a second.

My son was denied care when he got sick.

He was turned away, even though he was in pain and obviously sick because he didn’t have insurance.

Michael, age 3, playing with his food.

He committed no crime, but he was handed the death penalty for being born with a birth defect.

Yes, he went to the emergency room. But the emergency room only has to stabilize you, so my son was given pain pills and a laxative when the problem was a malignant tumor blocking his colon.

He went to the emergency room three times and got no help.

He was denied a colonoscopy for three years running — even though he’d already had pre-cancerous polyps removed by the time he was 25.

Yes, Republicans, he was working when he got sick, but he got too sick to work — try reporting for a shift waiting tables when you have stage 3 cancer.

And if you think you’re safe because you have employer insurance, this new law allows states to remove the protections of mandated coverage from your plan as well.

That’s right, you could lose maternity coverage, addiction treatment, mental health coverage. And while you may not want maternity coverage because you’re a man, your wife or daughter could lose a child because of lack of access to maternity care. In fact, you could lose your wife or daughter.

But go ahead, laugh and say, “like I need maternity coverage, chortle, chortle.” Maybe it’ll be a little less funny when your wife or daughter dies from lack of access to care.

And if you think they don;t know what they’re doing, consider this: They kept all the protections of the Affordable Care Act for themselves in this bill. We can die, but they won’t because they wrote the law to protect themselves and their families.

These murdering thugs belong in  jail, not in Congress.

But because they’ve been able to convince enough Americans to vote against their own interests, because they’ve been able to gerrymander their districts to prevent a Democratic majority, they get to murder tens of thousands of Americans.

If the ACA goes, I lose coverage because I have asthma.

If the ACA goes, 22 million Americans are in the same situation I am.

Are you one of them?

I have tried to appeal to my congressman, Mark Meadows — a man who claims to be “pro-life” and “Christian.” He is neither. I have called, written, e-mailed and faxed appeals to him, trying to appeal to his better nature.

As it turns out, Mark Meadows has no better nature. Nor do Robert Pittinger, Patrick McHenry or Paul Ryan. These are not reasonable people. These are criminals who belong behind bars for their part in this heinous crime.

You can say I’m a little over the top with all of this, but if you lose a loved one to this mess, you’ll understand.

If you don’t have health insurance, you are not a criminal, as much as those in power would paint you as such. Why else would their first question on hearing my son’s story be, “Was he working?”

Perhaps they should have to watch their children die. Perhaps that’s the only thing that will work to change their minds.

I really do hope there is a Judgment Day. I want to be there when they’re condemned. I want to see it happen.

 

 

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