The task force says there are 400,000 of us.
We are the third largest city in the state.
We would fill Neyland Stadium 4 times over. Hand in hand we would stretch over 227 miles.
There is no shortage of tragedy in our city. People die earlier. Many suffer horribly. Everyone would like to move. No one really ever does.
We are “in the gap” but we did more than fall in there. We live there. Each day is a silent prayer for good health for this day and hope that one day there will be no gap. Ground will be level and medical care no longer something we heard about and something we wish we had but an every day reality.
This past year they told us to be quiet and wait till next year maybe. But many of us can no longer wait and I don’t know if anyone will ever be quiet again. So now they have a task force. Now they are resolved to look at what they have refused to see for years.
Will they see?? Will they hear?? I don’t know, but I know we are part of the answer. Tomorrow they will be in Knoxville and Johnson City. Please come if you can. Tell them about our city. Tell them not just to talk the talk but to walk the walk. Ask them when you can move to another town.
Someone asked me what I hoped they would learn in their “investigation”. I found something I had written a long time ago.
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.
Hope to see you tomorrow….