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Posts Tagged ‘health care’

A Letter to Senator Scott Brown

In Recent Headlines on April 15, 2010 at 8:30 am

Today’s guest blogger is Kent Elliott, a frequent commenter on our Facebook page.  She and I met in a high school public speaking class. Kent is a working mother who has just completed a Masters program at Lesley University in Early Childhood Education and is specializing in English Language Learners (ELL). She is a writer, a gardener and artist. She was raised in Ft. Myers, Fl., but moved to Boston 22 years ago, fell in love the area and stayed. A lifelong Democrat, she voted for Senator Scott Brown in election that filled Ted Kennedy’s seat. When she shared a letter she wrote to the newly elected senator from her state, she graciously allowed me to post it for our readers here. Thank you for your thoughts, Kent!

Dear Senator Brown,

I just sent off a note to you thanking you for the job you are doing and telling you I voted for you, but I didn’t say why.

After all, I told you I am happy as a life-long Democrat who voted for President Obama and am happy the Health Care Bill got passed.

So what is it I like about you and the job you are doing besides not going to the Tea Party tomorrow? I like that when I read about you, you seem to go your own way and shock people who expect something from you. You seem to stand on your own. I respect that.

Also, you know this state and you know we are peaceful people here for the most part. I am in Somerville surrounded by colleges and immigrants. My town is full of artists and green thinking people.

It really hurts us and our spirits so much to hear the things people in the extreme right call us. The signs I see from the Tea Party, the language, it is very disturbing.

I grew up in the deep South and saw lots of racism down there. It traumatized me as a child and I couldn’t wait to grow up and move north. The Tea Party says it isn’t a White Power party, but I have yet to hear a good and articulate argument from a Latino group, or a Black group, or Catholic, or Muslim, or Jewish or Hindu that supports the Tea Party. I look in the audience and all I see are white people. The significance of this is that Sarah Palin wants to lead this country and we are made up of many groups, not just one.

We are ALL immigrants. Unless you are Native American, you and everyone else came from somewhere else. Xenophobia is not healthy.

They say they know God. God is love. Jesus did not lead an army or pick up a weapon other than the Word of God. It really saddens me that people use God’s name to hate on others.

I am a complex person and voter. My family is made up of Jews, Catholics and Protestants. I have a graduate degree but I am also a single mom that lives below the poverty line. I do not believe in abortion, and I do believe in job creation.

I do vote by party sometimes, but I am willing to vote for people who will bring chivalry and good manners back to the leadership of our nation. I was terrified of the Limbaugh’s and Gingrich’s and that ilk when I lived down South. I heard what people say when they only think white people are in the room. It is awful.

I don’t expect you and I to agree on every issue. I like to think that you are the kind of man President Obama is: A gentleman who is intelligent, reasonable, able to look for the good in each person, able to walk in peace.

We are all just people trying to get by in the world and make it as good a world as we can. President Obama isn’t evil. I am not evil. It really hurts to hear FOX go on about leaving social justice churches  and Obamanation spew.

I hear about militias rising up to wage war on their fellow Americans. I think back to something I read once: “They came first for the Communists, and I wasn’t a Communist so I didn’t speak out…” I worry that some poor family of color or some Muslim of Jewish family will be attacked down South.

I am more worried about terror inside the country than without. Plus, it will really be terrible if we end up in another civil war. We would not only destroy ourselves, but we would make ourselves vulnerable to any real enemies we have outside the country.

I don’t even know anyone who owns a gun. We are all peaceniks up here. It is beyond my comprehension how these folks can be so angry they are willing to start killing.

And how is it worse for people now than 50 or 100 years ago? Used to be Blacks and Jews couldn’t live in certain parts of town, belong to country clubs, go to Harvard…Poor people and children worked 6 days a week in sweatshops for 12 hours at a time, or in coal mines for company script or were sharecroppers. We had polio and other debilitating diseases. Blacks were separate but equal. The KKK was lynching. AND getting away with it.

I think many people think life is better today.

I voted for you because the Democrats seemed too smug and not to be moving on anything. Jobs weren’t happening fast enough for my taste. I hoped you would send a message to them, but it wasn’t that I didn’t want health reform. It was that I DID want it. They got a little scared and found their backbones.

I like Dems, but I do know some fine Republicans. Can’t we ALL disassociate with the militias with guns? Can’t we stand united that starting war within this country would be a VERY BAD THING?? Can’t we all agree that every person of every color, nationality, religion, or sexual orientation can expect to have the freedom to have their own thoughts and beliefs?? I respect Christians and Christian thought, but I do NOT think everyone in this nation needs to do what Christians say. They have to learn to live with people who are different. It is not OK to bully people into a belief system. Also, Texas textbooks are EXTREMELY disturbing too. God is the first scientist. God and science go together not apart.

Anyway, those are all the things on my mind lately. I don’t see in black and white. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt. Please work with my President to model appropriate behavior to the world.

Thanks so much.

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Choosing to amend

In Church and State on November 12, 2009 at 10:51 am

Once again, as the details of the health care bill are amended, abortion comes into the spotlight. I want to go on record as supporting Representative Bart Stupak’s amendment that no public funds pay for abortions. This is not a stance that will be popular with my liberal camp, but I want to explain why, with the proviso that I am pro-choice.

I have a great deal of internal wrestling even addressing this topic, as I feel it is ultimately, personal and not public. I would rather never talk about it, that is how private such a choice is.  That is why I oppose funds of any sort from a public plan going towards a personal decision. I struggle that I’m sending the wrong message to make public something I believe to be so deeply personal, but I also feel what I want to say has value.

There is a group on Facebook I joined called “I Hate Cancer”. I don’t think anyone would disagree with that statement. On the same token, I don’t believe anyone likes abortions, including pro-choice folks. Choosing to have an abortion is one of the most difficult decisions a woman has to make.

It bothers me how often the argument that there are people who want their own children but cannot have them is waved like a flag to oppose abortion. The argument is akin to telling children to eat their peas because there are starving children in Africa.

Earlier this spring, a young mother and her son made headlines for refusing chemotherapy treatment. Their religious convictions made their choice easier for them. I don’t understand why they refused the treatment, but my religion doesn’t tell me to reject medicine. Theirs does. I’m not sure the law should have interfered with their religious choice.

There is a the flip side. Abortion is legal. It is a difficult option that is offered to women who don’t want to be pregnant. Some people’s religious convictions tell them it’s wrong and they want to change the law. I disagree with changing the law, but I also don’t feel the law should pay for it.

Abortion choice is a choice between a woman, her conscience, and her God. It has zero place in government, zero place in any sort of public insurance. It can be privately funded by those who believe in choice as adoptions can be privately funded by those who are strongly opposed.

In a nation that accepts religious diversity, I do not understand why personal beliefs are mingled with government policy. We are supposed to separate church and state. One of the greatest things about being human is that we have free will. Some of us believe it is a gift from God, others believe it’s part of what it is to be human. Whatever our belief structure is, we have the ability to make choices and with those choices comes personal responsibility.

I pray that our nation stop fighting on rhetoric and realize that we should not allow personal choices to publicly divide us.