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The Straw That Broke The Camel's Back: Why I Can't Quit Healthcare Advocacy Even If I Wanted To

A Women for Justice Blog by Rebecca Wood

It’s been two weeks since the defeat of the “skinny bill”.

I thought the victory would cue my exit from the advocacy world.

I pictured myself returning to my typical day to day life. But, as I’m finding out, I can’t let go.

I’m afraid the camel’s back has been broken.

"We had to deal with the blows the country’s broken healthcare system dished out. Despite having what is considered “good” insurance and a decent income, our medical debt is insurmountable. Then, there are the automatic denials. Yes, I regularly fight to receive a service I pay for. And, there are the impossible choices. Do I pay the exorbitant co pay for my asthma medication or the co pay for her therapy? (It’s not impossible, really. I pay her copay and go without mine.)"

When I typed that out, I failed to mention one of those “impossible choices” cost me all of my teeth and parts of my jaw.

The losses we’ve endured are so numerous I can’t possibly list them all. And, some are so horrible they are unimaginable to most. Despite everything, I somehow remained stoic and grateful for what little we did have.

When the GOP came after my child with their bad healthcare policy, that must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I can’t go back to “normal” as long as this administration is in power.

I can’t stand by silently and hope to hold on to what little I have left.

At the very least, I can’t expect others to show up for my fight if I don’t return the favor.

We must stand up and fight for each other.

For me, it’s our country’s broken healthcare system that is slowly destroying my family’s future.

For others, it’s xenophobic immigration policies, environmental destruction, disregard for science, failure to pay a living wage, outright racism, or homophobic legislation.

And now, there are discussions of nuclear war?!?!?

I’ve tried talking to the offending legislators. I’ve attempted to point out how their policies hurt real people. They and their staff dote over my daughter, smile politely, call me brave, and tell me they admire me as they turn around and vote to steal her future.

They write poor policy, which they don’t have to live with, in the interests of their donors. These people don’t deserve to be in office.

It’s a moral imperative for me to resist.

Well GOP, you may not have accomplished anything legislatively but you’ve done a fine job of creating a passionate activist. As many of you lawmakers have told me, I’m strong and I’m brave.

Additionally, I’ve been stripped of my dignity and have stared down my worst fear. Consequently, I’m not easily intimidated nor do I give up quickly.

I’m well educated. Therefore, I know it’s not immigrants, gay people, Muslims, minorities, other women, low income families, or whatever scapegoat, you come up with, who have caused my hardships.

My troubles are the result of bad policy.

While I’d much rather join the PTA, be a soccer mom, take up gardening, chair a fundraiser, or tend to a local neighborhood association, I can’t.

That version of me no longer exists.

You broke it.

Instead, this activist you’ve created will be busy fighting the lousy legislation you put on the table.

I will be working to change things for the better.

And, come reelection time, I will be fighting you.

Rebecca Wood writes the popular blogs Every Lane Is The Left Lane and Cheering on Charlie. Check out a recent NowThis video featuring the author and her daughter.

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