The news came through on my iPhone between loads of laundry on my day off. “Nevada Senator Won’t Back Senate Health Care Bill.”
It was big national news because Senator Dean Heller is a key moderate vote the GOP leadership needs in order to move forward with its ill-conceived and hatched-behind-closed-doors effort to demolish health care for millions of women, children, persons with disabilities, to defund Planned Parenthood and to gut the Medicaid safety net.
It was also big family news because my wife is a Nevada native and her 83-year-old mother still lives in her home town of Henderson. For months now, Jody’s regular daily routine has been to do her breathing treatment, check Facebook to see if we’ve posted any picture of the grandpuppies, and then call Senator Heller’s office. She has been so persistent in her lobbying efforts that she now knows some of the interns by name and they greet her with “What can we do for you today, Mrs. Hall?”
The months since November have been tough on Jody. The specter of the unraveling of the progress she and members of her generation have worked for decades to secure on women’s rights, human rights and civil rights ― not to mention the decline of civil discourse and the evaporation facts as a thing ― has haunted her. I know there were days she has felt like giving up. I know there were times when she wondered if there was anything anybody could do to make a difference. And she kept calling.
And then there was today. Today her senator ― who she has been doggedly calling every single day ― made national news by putting his constituents and his country ahead of his party. Today was the pay off for every one of those calls she made ... wondering whether they would make a difference and praying that they would and making them anyway.
My mother-in-law helped make history happen today. And if she can do it, so can we. Every single one of us. Today. Tomorrow. And for as long as it takes. Nobody is too busy. Nobody is too old. Nobody is too young and ― after today ― nobody better be too cynical to pick up the phone and call. Make your voice heard. Tell your story.
Go. Be like Jody. Pick up the phone. Call now. Because this is not a health care reform bill — it is a health care attack bill that is cruel, morally unjust and inhumane — and incompatible the core moral value of respecting the dignity of every human being.
Need a script? Here you go:
I’m calling to ask my Senator to vote NO on the Senate Health Bill. I’m counting on him/her to do the right thing and stand up for children and women and others in desperate need of health services. Do not shred the safety net for millions of Americans. Nearly half of all those on Medicaid are children, including nearly five million children in California alone. Medicaid ensures coverage for 40 percent of all children with special health care needs and more than 40 percent of all births. Low-income adults, adults with disabilities, and seniors are in great jeopardy too. Millions of people will be left without access to birth control, lifesaving cancer screenings, and other basic care. Many of them will have nowhere to go for the health care they need. I expect my Senator to vote against any attacks on these vital health services. Thank you for your time.
We can do this. Go. Call. Now. 202-224-3121. Operators are standing by. Make Jody proud.