Yesterday I was making some comments on a post that stated, among other things, that Latinos should band together to vote one of our own into office. It got me thinking about what voting for someone for any reason other than believing in what they stand for and for their abilities can do. It also reminded me of this blog I wrote back in September ’08. Re-reading it today and knowing what I know, I wish I had gone off on the mess that is Sarah Palin. Hindsight is 20/20.
Proud Owner of a Vagina AND a Brain
One thing that I can’t stand is people who assume the stupidity of others. This weekend was a perfect example of that with Senator McCain choosing Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. Republicans everywhere assumed that Hillary’s followers would become Sarah followers as if women saw ownership of a vagina as a leadership credential.
I laughed at my republican friend who got excited over this news and even told him that his party could have any gender-following fools, while inwardly thinking that it would never be so. No woman would disregard her ideology simply for the opportunity to see one of her own in a position of power.
Unfortunately, I’ve been proven wrong. I was shocked as I saw Illinois McDemocrats (I think that’s what they called themselves) interviewed as they boarded a bus for Minnesota and responded with the following: “I’m excited to see a woman in the White House.” “A woman in the White House is what we need.” HUH??? What??? I’m confused. What is it exactly that a woman is needed for? Please explain to me what a woman, whose views are the exact opposite of the person you follow, can do for you?
I am by no means bashing Gov. Palin (I question Sen. McCain’s judgment but that’s a whole other rant) because I respect that other people have different beliefs and I respect that they are just as passionate about them as I am about mine. My point here is my disappointment at people who DO NOT follow their beliefs. People who do not take the time to think critically, people who are swayed by race and/or gender, people who follow party lines without so much as a thought about the big picture.
Women have made so much progress in this country. As has been said about Hillary, 18 million cracks were made in the glass ceiling and that should be a positive thing. Unfortunately, I am afraid that some of those cracks were made by idiots who bumped into it accidentally.
I feel I must add an extra post for today because I am in complete disbelief after having read the following comment to someone’s Facebook status regarding the Utah political process: “When the government tries to overstep their bounds, people suddenly become very interested in the political process!”
Now I’m not going to pretend to know much about the healthcare reform bill that was recently passed, but I do know the realities of the current health system and know it doesn’t work and even if it does not all of us are blessed enough to be covered by it.
Up until last October, I had health insurance from the time I was about 18. For a lot of that time, I had great coverage at a very low cost. During that time I broke quite a few bones and even had diskectomy due to two herniated disks. I had no idea of the reality of the world of healthcare for so many Americans.
That was until several things happened in the last few months. I quit my job and moved to Puerto Rico to help care for my Dad. and I started reading my friend Janis’s blog where she often writes about her struggles with the healthcare system as it relates to her son Austin, who is not just the cutest little boy but also a special needs child.
I will allow you to read Janis’s blog to acquaint yourself with her day to day issues but will share with you my recent experiences and can judge if I am overreacting to the comment…
A few months ago my Dad felt a pain in his chest near his heart. We believed it was a sore muscle from sitting and/or lying in the same position most of the day, but since he had heart surgery about a year ago, we didn’t want to take any chances. We headed to the emergency room a little after 9:00 p.m. and it was after 3:00 a.m. when we finally got home. His treatment? I believe the attending doctor took his pulse, his blood pressure and temperature but I’m not sure.
What I am sure of is that nothing, absolutely nothing, else was done to him. In the meantime I was left with the task of helping an elderly patient go from waiting room to bathroom trying to give the requested urine sample. I was left with this task because her brother and sister-in-law were also elderly they couldn’t wait with her and the hospital staff handed her the cup and left her to her own devices. I’ve had long emergency room waits, but that was just beyond comprehension to me. (Sidenote: I do have to say that my dad, who doesn’t get out much, enjoyed having new people to converse with in the waiting room)
I was in California visiting with some friends earlier this month. Midway through my visit I tripped on the sand and twisted my ankle. I stayed in bed with my foot elevated the next day but when by the third day, with only 1 ½ day left before my 12 hour trip home, the pain and swelling had not subsided, a battle between my the pain in foot and the worry about a medical bill I can’t afford began to rage in my mind. Ultimately, the foot pain won and I asked my friend to drop me off at the ER before she headed to LAX to drop off our other friend.
Thankfully, I was only one of two people in the ER and was seen quickly but as I was taken for x-rays my mind couldn’t help but continue to worry about the future bill. I thought to myself: why didn’t I just find the nearest medical supply store to buy some crutches, but having a 12-hour trip home via two different airports just a little over 24 hours away, I knew I couldn’t take any chances. In the end, I was diagnosed with a severe sprained ankle and sent home with a prescription for vicodin, my foot wrapped and those very crutches I considered buying on my own. I haven’t received my bill yet but I will confess that I am afraid. I’m still unemployed and still caring for my Dad and don’t know how or when I will be able to pay it.
Now I ask, if the person whom I quoted above had a special needs child, or poor medical care or as in my case no insurance and having to decide on the feasibility of medical care….would she be complaining about the government overstepping their bounds? Or would she be looking at those who represent her needs in Washington to take a step towards improving the system that no longer works for her?
After a sleepless Monday night and an early morning spent voting I decided that I would watch the election results from the comfort of my home. It was a change from my original plan to attend the rally but I was tired. I sat on the sofa as my friends talked about their trip back downtown to the rally.
I watched as CNN cameras panned the Grant Park area and I felt the electricity of the moment jump out at me from the television. At that moment I decided that despite my exhaustion my 21 month obsession with this election would not be celebrated on the sofa. It would be celebrated with the seemingly thousands of others who were headed downtown. I would not live with regret because of a little thing like sleep.
The moment did not disappoint. The air was thick with something I can only describe as HOPE! Vendors and consumers alike were taking steps towards economic improvement by selling and buying anything with Obama’s name that you could possibly think of. Entering the park was like walking into the coolest, most laid back and fun party you could ever hope to attend. I can’t speak from experience but I’m sure Diddy’s white party in the Hampton’s has nothing on Obama’s shindig!
There were jumbo screens everywhere. There wasn’t a bad seat in the house, unless you actually wanted to sit that is. I received texts from friends asking, “why are you in that mess of people?” But I looked around and as many people as there were, it wasn’t a mess (Pres. Obama does not do disorganized!). Everyone was polite, respectful, joyful and by the end of the night the crowds by you were your friends.
While the crowd was large when we first arrived it seemed to fill up in 5 minutes time. It was hard to see the sea of people from your position in front or behind them but you knew they were there. We posed for each other’s pictures, we shared lollypops and shared our own accounts on how we came to believe in this movement and what it would mean for us.
CNN announced that we won Pennsylvania (yes WE because this was our win) and we all stood there knowing deep inside ourselves that all of our hopes had come true but not wanting to say it outloud just yet. Then at 10ish when the announcement that “Barack Obama will be the 44th President of the United States” was made we all jumped, cheered and hugged in jubilation. Tears ran down my face. The same tears that had been building up since early that morning when I cast my vote.
We were Latinos, Whites, Blacks, Asians and everything in between. We were of every shade of human but at that moment we were ONE. We danced and rejoice and anxiously awaited for our new president to join us. As he stepped out we were overcome and I swear you could almost hear a pin fall. We saw the humility in his countenance. We saw that his hope wasn’t any different from ours. We could see that he didn’t just win the presidency but that he, with us, won an opportunity to change the world. We saw that he was humbled at the opportunity to lead us into a new direction of empowerment, health, prosperity, acceptance and dare I say it; love for one another and the country we live in.
This morning a friend text and asked, “So are you happy?” I said, “Happy doesn’t even begin to describe it.” He asked, “so then what are you feeling?” and I could only respond, “too many emotions.”
My sister was bothered this morning that a lot of the news cast were focusing their conversations on race. I told her that for the moment it was important. That her sons, my nephews, wouldn’t be hit by the reality that we faced once we grew out of our childhood naivete. They will never question how far they can go or what they can become. They will grow up in a country that accepted someone like them as a leader not in one that wondered if it would ever be possible.
Today I am even more proud to be an Hispanic American and I’m happy to have been the tiniest part in leaving a better world for our children!