If we don’t vote, we can’t complain

Here’s the thing, I was formulating this great blog on a grassroots effort to encourage our State legislature to hold a special session for Medicaid Expansion.  But then Tuesday, May 1st happened.

If you’ve had been following, even minutely, during the weeks leading up to the Sumner County primaries, some campaigns turned really nasty.  The ballots were either uncontested or empty for the Democratic party.  But what disturbs me the greatly most greatly is the  turnout of voters!

According to the Sumner County Election Commission there were 103,214 registered voters eligible to vote on May 1.  14,446 cast votes.  Folks, that’s dismal. Less than 5% of registered voters in Sumner County exercised their constitutional right.

What’s even more disturbing to me was to see the comments on local “progressive” Facebook pages who were saying they weren’t voting because of an uncontested candidacy or because it was only county primaries and they were waiting until the “real” one in August.  Have we become complacent? It’s very easy to sit behind a keyboard to complain on a social media platform about our current administration or end a post with #BlueWave.  Have we become reactive instead of proactive?  Sure it’s easy to show up at a rally or vigil when the next tragic mass shooting occurs.  But how many of the thousands of us on these progressive pages have done door knocking, phone banking, post card writing or (gasp) run for a local office?

We have 3 months to be proactive for our local progressive candidates.  We have 6 months to change the culture in our Federal government.  Nothing will happen if WE DON’T VOTE.  With the advent of online voter registration through Proud Voter and Early voting most of the obstacles have been eliminated.  Let’s bring Tennessee out of the gutter in voter turn out.  Let’s get out there and work for our progressive candidates to get them elected.  But, most importantly, VOTE!

 

We Don’t Elect Our State Reps To “Spurn” Us #Medicaid Expansion

HEY! WAIT Did you hear?  Our Tennessee State Governor Haslam along with House Speaker Harwell and  Senate Rand McNally were cool with the idea of having a special legislative session regarding Medicaid Expansion!  So exciting!

Oh, now, what was that different sound? That was the sound of all the other reps’ “NOs”. According to an intern in Speaker Harwell’s office the matter is now dropped.  And I am angry. I AM ANGRY!  If you get a chance, read  Humphrey On The Hill – Tennessee Politics and Legislature because it gives you a good idea just how our State Representatives spurned Medicaid Expansion.

Tennessee could become the 32nd state to expand Medicaid,  An expanded Medicaid program would provide greater access to health coverage.  Medicaid expansion would provide more low income adults access to healthcare services, resulting in improved health outcomes.

Expanding Medicaid could save our State Of Tennessean money,  The Federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost for newly eligible low-income adults for the first three years. There are so many benefits for Medicaid Expansion, I just don’t get the hold up

Well, how do I tell my 24 year old special dude that he’s been “spurned”?  Or look at Reid when he was a really little guy, weighing in at only 1 lb. 5 oz. Well, my Tennessee State Legislature, My representatives are telling me that my child is spurned, meaning rejected with disdain.

So let’s create an action plan.  Governor Haslam’s office is tallying their phone calls.  Please call him at 615-741-2001, thank him but then demand a special legislative session for Medicaid Expansion.  Call your State House and State Senate reps and tell them to get on board, that you’re sick and tired of seeing rural hospitals close down and people losing their jobs.  Make videos of how Medicaid Expansion would affect you and then make them go viral. Like the one I did when the ACA was being threatened :

A Cautionary Tale (Except It’s Reality)

Scene:  I had just dropped my son off at work and stopped by a corner market to pick up a few items.  It was mid-morning and pretty busy in there. As I queued in line I noticed one cashier finishing with a customer, another in front of me with a large basket of groceries and then a man behind me.  Another cashier opened her register, allowing for the next person in line. The man behind me started to go forward but then indicated for me to go ahead. Thanking him, I placed my item on the counter.  Here is where the “cautionary tale that’s really occurred” comes in. This man then stated, “Well, I think that deserves a hug” and immediately grabbed me up into a full frontal hug. I immediately pushed away with an emphatic “NO” and “Get your hands off me!”.  I was stunned, violated and scared. The clerk was paralyzed. I paid, left with the man following soon behind me where I noticed he took my picture as I was getting into my car.

So there you have the scene.  I went through the gambit of emotions: fear, embarrassment, anxiety, anger, shame.  Then I did my own victim blaming, “If only I’d been wearing my wedding rings he wouldn’t have targeted me.” “Maybe he was just doing a nice southern gesture”.  NO! NO! NO! How too soon I’ve forgotten the #MeToo movement and the empowerment of women it has fostered.

So, why this blog; why now?  Today’s political climate is daily, sometimes hourly, in flux.  The frenetic pace of crisis mode is the norm rather than the exception as our State and Federal representatives continually push destructive legislation through. We MUST keep all our important issues in the forefront.  But this is so taxing and many of us weary.   So let’s game plan.

First:  VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!  If you aren’t registered, it’s easier to do so now more than ever.  Just go to a simple online tool, Proud Voter, and you’re good to go.  Our vote is the way to make our voices emphatically heard.

Second:  Tap into a special interest in which you can maybe donate time or resources.  If healthcare impacts you get in touch with the Tennessee Justice Center.  If common sense gun laws is your passion then Moms Demand Action is just for you.  There are always voices needed for our disability community and I think Tennessee Disability Coalition is an outstanding resource. DACA and Immigration is a very important issue for our state.  Please advocate with Tennessee Immigrant & Refugee Rights Coalition if this your wheelhouse.  And making sure everyone is treated equally, the Tennessee Equality Project works tirelessly on  behalf of our LGBTQ community.

Third:  If you don’t necessarily have a niche yet or a special interest to get behind, then consider donating to Act Blue so the “Blue Tide 2018” progressive candidates can be successful and affect realistic change which benefits everyone.

My cautionary (real) tale is just a reminder that although there are so many issues to fight and claw, we don’t have to forget one as another comes to the forefront.  There are enough of us working together to shine the light ALL THE TIME on healthcare, common sense gun laws, #MeToo movement, immigration, tax reform and government corruption, etc.  We are on the cusp of a very active, important political season.  Let’s get to work!