I am so angry right now.
I have been wanting to get back in the groove of blogging regularly because I miss it, and I’d cleared off this evening with the explicit goal of writing a post. I was all set to write a post about my first-ever DNF, which happened this weekend, when I heard the House Republicans had forced through the legislative monstrosity some like to refer to as Zombie Trumpcare.
And since then, I haven’t been able to think about much else.
There’s so much to be angry about. I don’t even know where to begin! Can we talk about how now, what’s defined as a pre-existing condition means that basically every woman alive is a walking pre-existing condition? If you’ve ever been raped, abused by a partner, suffered post-partum depression, had an eating disorder – surprise! You have a pre-existing condition.
I can’t tell you how much it thrills me to know that I could be denied health insurance down the road thanks to two of my life’s most traumatic experiences: being raped as a child and being beaten by my former partner. Thank you so much for your compassion, House Republicans. I am truly blessed.
And the rhetoric coming from House Republicans leading up to this vote! OMFG, it made me want to smash things. The worst was that decrepit Republican from Alabama, Mo Brooks, talking about how the ACA repeal would help people who “have done the things to keep their bodies healthy … who have done things the right way.”
(I’m sure it will surprise no one that Brooks identifies as a Christian. Because I’m sure Jesus was all, “I will heal the lepers, but only if they get 30 minutes of exercise a day and eat 5-7 servings of vegetables. Otherwise, those fuckers are on their own.”)
Where do I even begin?
Well, let’s start with this – I am very healthy. You even could say I am one of those people who has “done things the right way”! I mean, I’m not actually saying that, because I would never say that, but let’s just assume Brooks isn’t a cruel piece of shit and what he’s saying is true.
So anyways, I am very healthy. I work out a ton. I eat well. My bloodwork always comes back with no problems at all. If my resting pulse rate were any lower, I’d be dead. My blood pressure is great. I rarely get sick. No medical professional has ever cut side-eye at my BMI. I have never even broken a bone. The closest thing I have to a health issue is the fact that I have to wear contacts for astigmatism. That’s it. I am as healthy as the proverbial fucking horse.
And yet I am not nearly so arrogant enough to believe that this counts as a guarantee of a long, healthy life. I know damn well that people fall sick all the time, that people get injured, that freaky-ass illnesses strike seemingly healthy people all of the goddamned time. Do my lifestyle choices increase the likelihood that I will have positive health outcomes through much of my life? Sure. But it’s no guarantee, and I can’t believe what’s clear to me is so opaque to all those rich white men who are twice my age.
Furthermore, I do not believe that someone has to earn the right to live. I do not believe someone has to earn the right to access health care. I do not believe health care is a reward for living a life that has been defined as virtuous based on the opinions of a bunch of pointy-haired boss-types. I believe it is part of living in a society where we take care of each other, especially the weakest and least privileged among us. I know, I know – I’m such a goddamned socialist.
I have no problem paying for health insurance if it means other people can have a chance at surviving, at trying to have healthy lives, at not leaving their partners and children and friends alone because they died of the kind of illnesses we know how to treat but did not treat because that person didn’t have the right kind of job or have enough money in the bank or know enough people with disposable income who could donate to help pay for that treatment. You can say that’s because I’m a bleeding-heart liberal but I prefer to think it’s because I’m not an asshole.
Listen, I know the ACA was not perfect, but I also know the ACA is the product of a very long political process that involved brokering deals with lots of power players, and that it was accomplished despite the fact that one major political party decided they wanted to stake their group identity on opposing everything supported by the black man in the White House. In that regard, it’s actually quite amazing the ACA was as successful as it was.
And I would have been totally open to hearing replacement plans that would have improved upon the ACA – key phrase being, “improved upon.” But the GOP took their seven years of opposition to the ACA and produced cruel, inhumane garbage that will most likely result in suffering, economic devastation, and death. If that’s an improvement, then I’d rather just continue to suck.
UGH, I told y’all I was pissed the fuck off. I know I’m not the only one, either. So let me take this moment to cite labor organizer Joe Hill, whose final words gave rise to the slogan “Don’t mourn, organize.” Let yourself feel that anger coursing through your veins, and use it as energy to motivate you to fight back.
First, look and see how your representative voted.
If your representative voted against it, call them tomorrow and thank them. Even if they are a Democrat, and especially if they are a Republican.
And if your representative voted for it, call them tomorrow and tell them what you think. If you’re so inclined, you can even tell them you will be working to fight their re-election. You don’t have to call – you can fax or send a postcard. (But for the love of god, please do not email or fill out a petition. It’s a waste of your time.)
If you choose to go that route, then please back it up with action. Find out who is running against your incumbent representative, and if they aren’t horrible, support them. Donate money to their campaign – even $25 will help. And if you actually really dig that candidate, volunteer with their campaign.
If you’re super passionate and you’ve got some free time, then join up with a local Organizing for America group or an Indivisible group. I personally opted to link up with the local chapter of the League of Women Voters, which is nonpartisan but has a proven track record of Getting Shit Done.
Get involved to some degree, it doesn’t matter how much, just as long as you’re actually involved. Lots of us abdicated political involvement for a very long time, because we felt it was boring or not a good use of our time or just too intractably corrupt, and look at what it got us. Republicans have the White House and Congress, they have most of the governorships and the state legislatures, they’re stacking the Supreme Court with young, shitty super-conservatives, and we’re paying for it, in so many ways.
Which brings me to my last point – for the love of god, do not stay home on Nov. 6, 2018. Get out there and vote. If you’re not registered to vote, go do it now. If you run into a road block, reach out to people who can help you figure it out. The local chapter of the ACLU can point you in the right direction.
All sorts of voter obstruction initiatives (not to mention gerrymandering, which, read about that if you want to give yourself a miserable, rage-fueled night) have been put in place over the last few decades, with the goal of making it so hard to vote that you won’t even bother.
Don’t let that deter you. Find a way to do it anyway. Think of people who have waited for hours, who have been jailed, who have died for your right to vote, and find a way.
And then after that, vote in every election. Vote in your gubernatorial elections and your state legislation elections. Vote for city council and mosquito control board and dogcatcher. Vote, vote, vote, vote. Vote these fuckers out of office, and then replace them with people who will fight for the things we believe in.
Hell, run for office yourself, even. We’ve seen you don’t have to know shit to be elected president, so it’s not like you have to attain some level of expertise to make it happen, so if you’ve ever thought about it, go do it. Lots of us will support you!
I refuse to give up, I will continue to fight, and I hope you will, too. I mean, what’s the alternative? If you want a glimpse, just watch The Handmaid’s Tale – that’ll tell you all you need to know about where certain elements of our power structure would like us to be in the near future.
P.S. Any comments about how Zombie Trumpcare is awesome and the ACA is a commie socialist plot meant to kill babies will be immediately deleted. You want freedom of speech? Go set up your own damn blog.