Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around
Turn me around, turn me around
Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around
Keep on a walking, keep on a talking
Gonna build a brand new world
I can still hear that song in my head hours later… I can still hear it being sung…. Hundreds of people from all over Tennessee. They were not turning around and as much as anything it was a day about not turning around. One lady came from Memphis. Today was her birthday… 97 years old…. no one was turning her around.
They came today with expectation. They came with hope and voice and passion. The smart money said it was a pointless effort but hundreds of ordinary Tennesseans hadn’t got the memo. They came in the cold. Many had been traveling since early in the morning. They didn’t care about giving up or not trying. They cared about the truth. It was not about “smart”. It was about wisdom, compassion, and moral commitment. It was about what they wanted to share with their representatives, with the leaders of Tennessee:
The interests of Tennessee are not threatened by the increased health of its citizens.
The increased sickness and rise in unnecessary deaths of any part of the Tennessee population is not in the interests of Tennessee and policy that predictably brings this about makes no financial, social, moral or political sense.
The defense of a policy that does this in the name of some political ideology or interest is political opportunism at its worst.
Any position or set of ideals that can only profit by the increase of suffering of one group of Tennessee citizens by the denial of resources and opportunity available to others is wrong.
The health of one Tennessean is not a threat to the health of another. We are all well served by the health of our neighbors.
The welfare of children are served by the health of their parents. Who cares not for the parents cares not for the children.
The notion that we cannot afford to do the right thing misses the point. At what cost can we afford not to.
The notion that people can and should be denied health care is not common sense. In this world neither is it common practice.
To have the ability to help others in significant danger or distress and fail to do so for personal or political gain is morally indefensible behavior.
To choose to vote against helping people without an alternative plan to do what needs to be done is the choice of a hard heart and soft minded person.
Justice is not one of several choices. It should be a value that focuses all choices.
Tennessee can be for all Tennesseans if we have the will and commitment to make it so.
The day was not about a moment however stirring or moving. It was about a movement. It was about a group of people who know that cannot control whether or not their legislators listen or are convinced by what they hear. But it was also a group of people who know that as long as they are willing to come, willing to speak, willing to care that there will be a movement that will end in health care justice for all Tennesseans.
It was about faith. In a time of increased cynicism, of increased suspicion, of anger and distrust and violent and harsh rhetoric it was about a group of people who said the simple moral witness of its citizens is essential to the governance of any decent state. It was the faith of a group of people who with their words, with their feet, with their hands, with their hearts said loudly and clearly, “We can do better. We can be a kinder and more just people…. We are better.”
I do not know if anyone will listen. Perhaps political convenience will win out. I don’t know. But battles are not wars and this is about war.
The song really says it.
Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me around….
This is the time.
Insure Tennessee Now!!