Rollercoaster days….. Notes on Insure Tennessee

Wednesday was a day of rage and betrayal.   Insure Tennessee went down in a House subcommittee and again it was last year. It all seemed so cheap,  so wrong,  and so hurtful.   It felt like a long journey forever seeking a first step.  The people who had control still had control.   The people who didn’t care at all didn’t care at all. And it was another year and how could people who couldn’t wait wait once again.

People are still continuing to call Speaker Harwell but I really don’t how much of it is hope for a miracle and how much of it is rage and determination to show we won’t go quietly. Perhaps it doesn’t matter.

Most of the people I talked to were irate and deeply hurt. The people I talked to on the gap were crushed. Insure Tennessee was the answer to their prayers but it seemed more and more wishful thinking. One friend told me quietly….. “A year again to pass a law, another year to take effect…. two years…. I just don’t know. I don’t know if I will be there to be helped. I hope I made a difference… I just hope I made a difference….”

That night I listened to a phone call that explained the politics of it and it sounded like it was a good day politically. I just wanted it to be a good day and wished they were the same thing.

I thought a lot later about the last 3 years and all Linda and I went through. I thought about the letters to the Governor and so many days apart and things gone and things never to come back. I thought of Tracy Foster’s fight for life and Michelle Fardens daughter and so many people in such misery.

I thought of legislators trying to explain how insanity was good government and wondering how so many people with so much free insurance could be so determined to keep others from it. I thought about legislators being afraid they would not get reelected and poor people being afraid they were going to die.

Thursday and Friday were bad seizure days for Linda and I just stayed with her. They are much harder on her now and sometime it takes a little while to be okay. Monday is our 35th anniversary and we talked a lot about that. We talked a lot about places and where we hoped it would all would go. She wanted to know what Tennessee would be like if Donald Trump was president and all I knew to say was that there would be no safe place.

I talked with Justin Jones and he told me on Monday they would be meeting on the capital steps to talk about what the Bible says about poverty and justice. He said there are over 2000 verses and they plan to read them all. I would love to be there. I know Linda would also but money is scarce and I don’t see it happening right now. But in spirit we will be there. I worry in uncertain political times that we will let the moral certainity of the battle grow less central. I hope not. To me the central question is not the cost of Insure Tennessee but the cost of not doing it and I fear that will be a judgement we all face.

These are rollercoaster days. And I am so tired. About a year ago a friend of mine in Cookeville died. His name was Mike Walsh and he was a warrior for a better Tennessee and if you knew him you were lucky. I wrote about him on this blog and looking back at what I wrote I found these words:

He believed in law but thought the law should be the door to a better life instead of something in the way.  He never thought democracy was something we had but a choice each of us made by the way we lived and in every day, in everything he did he did democracy.”

I hope to do democracy….. Keep me in your prayers and if I can help let me know. Each day do democracy…. It has never been more important.


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