Today was Moral Monday at the Tennessee and I was privileged to speak at the rally but that was not the most important thing that happened to me today…
I met a lady with a cancer of the wrong spot… a brave, quiet lady fighting for her life.
She once had Tenn Care but lost it when her daughter had turned 18. She had fought cancer once and won, but they told her they thought it would come back.
It has…. In Tennessee if you are a female and have cervical or breast cancer you can get Tenn Care. Anywhere else…. You don’t qualify. You get nothing. The system supposed to help tells you sorry…..wishes you luck….but….
She has a cancer of the wrong place. She drove over a hundred miles, by herself in real pain, a pain now always with her now, to tell her legislators her name. One of her legislators is strongest against Insure Tennessee. It is, he tells everyone, a really bad deal. His name is Randy McNally. Senator McNally you don’t know bad deal.
They tell me that Insure Tennessee may die in committee later today. I wonder how many people will die in committee today if it does.
She held her first press conference today. She was worried she didn’t say things well.
I wonder how many people don’t hear things too well.
It is 3 in the morning here and I don’t know if sleep will be there anymore tonight. I struggle to find the words to end this. How do you talk about a hero who would give anything not to be a hero? What do you say to a lady who only wants her life back? How can there be a cancer of the wrong place? How? How many legislators today will look her in the eye and tell her Insure Tennessee is a bad idea? I heard one on TV earlier tonight wondering why so many people were wasting their time. How can there be a cancer of the wrong place and who is really wasting their time?
I wish I could say it is a solitary story but it isn’t. 280,000 people may never be there tomorrow but they are there for those who will listen.
I found these words I wrote when I found out Insure Tennessee still lived…
It is about a system that says because of your financial status you will most likely die earlier than your fellow citizens.
It is about a system that says that ordinary and expected illnesses that medical science can treat or cure may go untreated for you even if it should mean your unnecessary death.
It is about a system in which any sickness may present you with financial catastrophe that you can never get past.
It is about a system that threatens your ability to keep a job and provide for your family if you cant get the medical care you need to stay healthy enough to keep that job.
It is about a system that tries to tell you that you are the cause of why it doesn’t work well rather than the victim of how it does work.
It is about a system that threatens the safety and security of your family and that in the end tells your children something is wrong with them.
It is about a system that attacks the heart and soul of its members as much as it ignores their bodies.
It is about a system that treats poverty as a crime and a moral failing.
It is about a system that in abandoning its most vulnerable would have each of us abandon something of the best of ourselves.
It is about a system long past time to change.
Your voice matters. Speak loudly and more loudly. Do not stop or turn around.
When you read these words please stop and pray for Insure Tennessee. Pray that there are no more cancers of the wrong spot.
And pray for so many heroes whose names may never be known.