Tuesday, September 15, 2009
The 9-12 "Tea Party" in Washington DC has caused such an uproar that I've decided to take a moment away from my typical "mommy blogs" to talk about it. While I am a very politically active citizen, I am not usually inclined to voice such opinions in this venue, and highly doubt I will do so very often. I am not writing this to argue with or insult anyone. I am not going to get into a discussion here about communism, czars, Acorn, Bill Ayers, or Saul Alinsky. Those of you who know me, already know who I am and where I stand. You also know that I have always been respectful and open minded to opposing political views, I appreciate and expect the same in return. I just want to offer you a slightly different take on the tea party than what you might find on CNN or Fox News. I feel that I can paint a relatively adequate picture of what happened in our nation's capitol this past Saturday because unlike most of the journalists, reporters, and facebookers who are giving their opinion of the event... I WAS THERE.
Now, for those of you who don't know me very well, I want to stop you before you get the idea that I'm some middle-age, middle-class, racist, white, soccer mom who has a fear or hatred of our current president and doesn't understand the plight of the poor and is probably writing this blog on my Mac Book at Starbucks, clicking my french-tip nails across the keyboard, sipping my latte and listening to a podcast of Rush Limbaugh in my Iphone. While I am white, and I am a soccer mom, and do love Starbucks, nothing could be further from the truth. I live in a poor, rundown, urban neighborhood with terrible schools. I have three children, the oldest of which was an unexpected baby conceived my junior year of college, and the youngest of which receives Medicaid benefits. I understand what it means to have no car, no money, standing at the bus stop feeling hopeless. I understand why the change President Obama champions seems to be an offer of hope to the downtrodden, because I myself fall into that category even as I write this. However, I also understand a few other things. I understand that the man, any man, democrat or republican, who sits in the oval office does NOT determine MY quality of life. I understand that "free" health care isn't really free. I understand that every time the government gives something to one individual, it must take from another individual in order to do so. I understand that poor people, my neighbors and peers, have been voting for democrats for the last sixty years, and ya know what? They're still poor! And those things are just a snippet of what the tea party was all about.
Was the tea party about health care reform and the conservative opposition to it? Well, it was certainly a highly discussed topic, but it wasn't the only reason we were gathered in Washington last weekend. While some would like to paint us as bigoted hatemongers who would love to watch uninsured children die outside emergency room doors, we are NOT against health care reform! We are however, against the present bill and as American citizens, we have a right to express to the administration in the peaceful forms of petitions, letters, and civil demonstrations that we oppose it. For many of the protesters gathered in DC, we weren't even proposing that the bill be thrown out, just that the members of congress be required to read it! I would encourage you, liberals and conservatives alike, to read it for yourselves before you attack the other side for their opinion of it. DO NOT TRUST what you hear from the mouths of news reporters or politicians, both of which have an agenda of their own. Read it for yourself! Then decide how you feel about it. Don't automatically be for it or against it just because a democratic administration is it's proponent. This blog is about my experience at the tea party not about my opinion of the bill, but I would like to give you a small view into my perspective. I have a daughter who receives medicaid. Because of this, she is supposed to be able to access the best medical care available with no cost to myself. In texting terms, LOL! Sure, she might have access to it, but it certainly will not be in a timely, efficient, or cost effective manner. I cannot tell you how many lines I have had to sit in, how many forms I have had to fill out, how many hours spent on hold, how many documents I've had to present for inspection. One night I spent, quite literally, ALL night driving from pharmacy to pharmacy trying to find someone to fill my daughter's inhaler prescription. I had an infant in the car seat who couldn't breath, and no one would fill her prescription, because no one could verify her freakin' medicaid ID number! And you think conservatives want to see the uninsured suffer??? This same daughter drinks a very specialized formula that costs upwards of $30 a can. I have to have a prescription in order to get it. If that prescription isn't worded EXACTLY right, and I'm talking a matter of even the two letter words on the form, it won't be filled. Do you know who pays for all of that? YOU, the American taxpayer! I see firsthand how the government handles it's current health care programs and what it costs the taxpaying American... maybe they should prove that they can run those efficiently before they start something new. Now, let's talk insurance for a sec... my husband's employer, a small business owner, does not offer insurance benefits. Therefore, we buy our own health insurance. It sucks but it's what we can afford. It is the equivalent of liability insurance for your car and has a deductible of about a zillion dollars, but the care we receive and the manner in which we receive it is far superior to my youngest daughter's medicaid benefits. If the current administration attempts to force my husband's employer to provide heath insurance to his employees, it will drive him out of business, then not only will we have no insurance, we will have no income. The left likes to say that the poor need to be empowered... there is no empowerment in a handout. While I'm ranting, I'd like to turn my attention to my conservative comrades (no communism pun intended). Some, not many, but some of you who marched side by side with me down Pennsylvania Avenue had stickers and signs that said "abortion isn't health care." I'd just like to address that for a second. I totally agree that abortion does not fulfill the second half of the word health CARE. I personally believe that it violates the oath a physician takes to "do no harm." But I just want to make sure that you understand that there is a good chance that your current insurance provider covers elective abortion. Even my crappy insurance that won't cover pregnancy, covers abortion. You need to be consistent. If you are opposing the coverage of abortion in the national health care plan, you sure as heck better be opposing it in the insurance you pay into every month.
There are some in the media who are currently announcing that the "tea party patriots" were plotting the "violent overthrow of the government" last Saturday. I seriously laughed when I heard this. The talking heads making that statement were clearly not there. I was there. The assembly was bursting into "America America" not charging the Capitol Building with guns blazing! Were there a few embarrassing people in attendance? Sure. But the most "violent" thing they did was drink their diet coke and hold a sign that said "Obama is a dictator" or "Impeach Obama" or my personal favorite "No Dancing with the Czars". Nothing near as bad as the signs liberals held when Bush was in office that said "Barbara should have aborted". The majority of people at the demonstration were not offensive and nonviolent. They were not calling for the overthrow of government. They were calling for smaller government. Many of us cried out the for the same thing when Bush 43 was in office. And while I'm at it, the group I was with for the majority of the day made it clear that we would have still been protesting last Saturday if McCain had been elected, because this is about the ISSUES, not about the president. There are some in the media who would say that we marched on Washington last weekend because we were bitter about the election, that couldn't be further from the truth. That was the problem with the whole McCain/Palin ticket. Conservatives weren't really voting FOR McCain, they were voting AGAINST Obama, because we didn't agree with either of them. They were both for cap and trade for example... but I digress.
I would also like to point out that the vast majority of my fellow sign-carrying protesters do not hate President Obama, regardless of how the media might portray us. We respect him as the rightfully elected president of this great nation (a luxury President Bush was not afforded after the 2000 election). Many people on Saturday utilized the phrase "We The People" but it was not without the understanding that "we the people" together as a representative republic, elected President Barack Obama. We marched down one of the most famous streets in the nation not because we think someone else should occupy the most powerful office in the world, but because we want the occupant of that seat to be informed and aware of the feelings, sentiment, and opinion of the people he governs or at least 1.6 million of those people. I do not think the president is evil. I do not think he loves abortion. I do not think he is deliberately trying to destroy these United States. I do not think he is a communist, Nazi, a Manchurian candidate, or the Antichrist. I honestly believe that the president truly, with his whole heart, wants the best for the nation he is responsible for. I honestly think that he believes that his current plan is what is best for the citizens of this country. I am convinced that, with his whole heart, he is trying to do what is best for the United States of America. But I also think, as a citizen of that same country, as a wife, a taxpayer, a mother, a patriot.... that he is wrong.