I heard a great piece on The World tonight about the health care debate: specifically, they talked about how the controversy over the proposal(s) is receiving a lot more media attention than their substance (similarly to how media often cover the ‘horse race’ aspect of elections more than the issues) and about how Britains are using Twitter to defend their national health system. They also made the point that the UK’s NHS has become a straw man in the health care debate in the U.S.–its weaknesses exaggerated and then conflated with President Obama’s plans.
After I got home, I sat down and wrote handwritten letters to my congressional delegation. I’ve been wanting to do more; I haven’t been to any town halls yet (if they think those are rowdy, try being a pro-immigrant advocate on an AM talk radio show!); I haven’t made any phone calls; I haven’t even talked about it that much with friends or colleagues. But, I pulled out some of my few remaining (totally awesome) Truman Scholar notecards (the ones with a painting of the Lincoln Memorial and a speech by RFK–the ones that I have now moved 5 times and can hardly bear to part with) and wrote letters.
The text of each was different. To Congressman Moore, I stressed his concern for working people and the importance of seizing this rare political moment. To Senator Brownback, I talked about his respect for life and the importance of protecting each person’s health. And to Senator Roberts, I talked about how Kansas, and Kansans, need health care reform, in towns large and small. In all, I identified myself as a mom and a citizen and, honestly, someone with decent health care who still cares very much about what we are not doing for those who have not.
Do I harbor any belief that these letters will be the defining act in the debate that is raging in our country? No. But do I feel a whole lot better now that they’re in the mail? And am I looking forward to explaining them to my son tomorrow morning? Absolutely yes.
If you live in my part of the country, here are the addresses I used (the best ones for this August recess):
Congressman Dennis Moore
500 State Avenue, #176
Kansas City, KS 66101
Senator Sam Brownback
11111 W. 95th Street, Suite 245
Overland Park, KS 66214
Senator Pat Roberts
11900 College Boulevard, Suite 203
Overland Park, KS 66210