I am probably at the point of my social media-induced, election/politics-related anxiety where I should turn off the computer and watch something like OITNB in its entirety over the next few weeks (days?). Everywhere I turn, there is some new piece of news that is almost laughable…except for how it’s not. Free speech? Nope. Easy access to healthcare? Not that either. Respect for the environment? Gone. A plan in place that will help our public schools? Not even close. Every single thing that is important in my eyes is being trampled on. It’s a lot to take in.
My particular brand of anxiety manifests itself in many ways, but one major way is OH MY GOD I WOULD DO ANYTHING TO AVOID MAKING A PHONE CALL. Fun flashback: I used to babysit every Thursday for a family up the street from us when I was in high school, and their mom used to leave me money so I could order Domino’s for me and her three (and later four) kids dinner. The oldest child was only about two years younger than I was, and I used to make her call and order the pizza because doing so myself was terrifying. Anyway, now I order my pizza (and anything else I care to eat for dinner that has to be delivered) online because the internet is one of the best things that has ever happened to people like me.
So here we are, some of us, feeling called to act and having to reconcile that with the fact that our natural instinct is to hunker down and curl up in a ball and wait for things to be okay again. I have, for the last three nights, slept greater than ten hours per night, which is well outside my norm, because life keeps feeling like TOO MUCH and my bed nest and weighted blanket call to me. But when do your self-protective instincts go from protecting you to imprisoning you?
I was scrolling through Twitter this morning and found a site called 5 Calls that makes it REALLY easy to find the information you need to call your senators and representatives. Here’s some more information on the site. Knowing that, at 6:00 in the morning, no one was going to be picking up the phone at these offices, I did a little bit of deep breathing, picked up the phone, and made a couple of calls. Senator Bob Casey is the Democratic senator from PA, and his voicemail was accepting messages. His Republican counterpart, Pat Toomey, had a full voicemail box. I would like to think that it’s because SO MANY people have been leaving him messages and NOT because he does not care what we have to say. I didn’t vote for the guy, but I guess he is my voice in Washington anyway.
Anyway, I called this morning to ask Senator Casey to fight the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and I also called the Army Corps of Engineers to ask them to consider the people of Standing Rock when they complete their environmental impact study on the Dakota Access Pipeline. There was a script on the site for me to use for both these calls. I branched out a little bit (I had to plea the case of all my sweet preemie patients, who could hit their lifetime insurance caps early on just because they were born too soon), but you certainly don’t have to. Apparently, a phone call is more likely to get attention than an email or a letter or a Facebook message or a Tweet. So I made a few calls. And if I can do it, you can too.
Remember – we belong to each other.