Wednesday, September 2, 2009

In Search of...the courage to lead

I am very brave on paper. Really. I can and will say anything that's on my mind or in my heart, and so I've been forthcoming about health care reform in my blog and in my letters to my representatives including the President and his Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. I have no trouble being outspoken with friends either, especially those who share my political views. That's easy. However, I have never been the one leading the charge.

Don't misunderstand me, I've wanted to lead the charge, but I've just never had the courage. So there I was, sitting at home minding my own business last night, when the phone rang. It was a nice young man named Tom from an organization called Health Care for America Now. He was calling to garner support for an upcoming rally this Thursday. He called the right house. He couldn't get a more enthusiastic supporter for the cause and so we chatted. Before too long he was asking if I would speak at the rally. I hesitated. My palms began sweating. I found the idea of this both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

There was an internal dialogue going on inside my head that Tom was oblivious to. It went something like this: "Ilene, this is your chance to make a difference and stand up for something you believe in. This is your opportunity to be heard." Then another voice was saying, "Are you out of your mind? You are shy and way too soft-spoken to do any kind of public speaking, especially at a rally." Then the other voice would say, "It's now or never. You have a chance to lead."

Schizophrenic? Hardly. Did I mention that there's a bull horn involved? I started having visions of Sally Field in Norma Rae. Is this who I am? It is my fantasy vision of myself, but not the one I've ever thought I had the capacity to actually carry out. Yet here I am, with the gifts of passion, articulation, and opportunity at a pivotal moment in history. Isn't it incumbent on me to act?
I believe it is. And so I'm awaiting Tom's email with the details for tomorrow.

In the meantime, I'm going to jot down some thoughts and facts - like how my premiums have nearly tripled in the last seven years...and how they almost equal my rent. Oh, and how I had to agree to a rider in order to get coverage in the first place, and so they won't cover anything to do with headaches (which they cause a lot of, so that's really unfair)...and how if I want to increase my out of pocket and deductible to lower my premiums it would be considered a new policy and therefore the pre-existing conditions clause would be in effect for a year and nothing would be covered. Well, I guess I am ready.

I'll report back to you, my trusty readers in detail about how this goes tomorrow. In the meantime, here's what I need YOU to do - get involved. Call your representatives, including the President. Below is the link to the site.

Thanks for stopping by. Please tell your friends.

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