Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Healthcare for the people

Are we back in the 20s? The disrespect, denegration and dishonor directed toward this healthcare change is disgusting, and demonstrates how far we have not come. If I may be blunt, Barack Obama has gotten one thing wrong. By not addressing disrespect directed at him in the past, he has allowed the floodgates to be opened on a tidalwave of raw sewage racism and hate that I don't see retreating anytime soon. There were only six Presidents brave enough to tackle healthcare reform, and they were not so maligned as has been President Obama. Theodore Roosevelt 1912, Truman 1945, Johnson 1965, Nixon 1974, Ford 1976 and Clinton 1993.

The question now becomes with people like Palin telling citizens to "reload," what will be our country's legacy? Will we become Pakistan? Killing over any deicsion we don't agree with? Fighting because we don't want our neighbor to have the same coverage as someone else because they don't have the same economic footprint? It's a shame that our citizens are afraid of what equal really means. I recall a foreign man once saying he admired our government because when we lost a race, we did so with dignity and grace, whereas his country had not, in his lifetime, ever changed power smoothly. I fear we are here now. I watched TV Sunday and listened as a story was recited of a woman who was dying of a most heinous form of cancer. On the way to surgery, the woman was informed that her insurance coverage was being canceled. The Republican Senator waited a beat then said nobody healthcare reform. I wondered if we were watching the same show.

I recall a racist co-worker once saying for me to stay in my place. I promptly reminded her my place had until that moment always been where ever she'd needed me. I was the watchdog when patients became unruly, or whenever she became uncomfortable with someone she couldn't quite understand because their accent was a little too thick. My place had been whereever I was needed until I wasn't needed anymore. I remember the time she referred to my grandmother as a mammy. I thought, I got your mammy. My hands shook as I filled out the application for graduate school. I went and, my God, did I graduate! You know, she didn't have a degree at all, but she was of a hue and a mindset that allowed her to think she was better and entitled to utter such words of ignorance and stupidity.

My place, I've decided is in academia, on educational boards that help students make life-changing decisions about the direction of their lives. My place is to be a best-selling author, speaker, activist and storyteller. Someone who changes lives rather than squashes dreams. My place is to seek greatness because it is only in the quest to be the best that we find the real gems of what "might" really means. My place is where ever I want it to be. She couldn't stop me; only I have that power.

Just as I needed support from family and friends, so does our President. He didn't win alone, and we shouldn't leave him alone now. If you need healthcare, defend it. Speak up for it and make your voices heard. It's time to stop letting others act as if they are the only ones who care about what's going on in our lives. We're important, too. Your place is where you make it. Speak up for it.

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