BY SHARON MARTIN
Outrages, day after day of them, wear us down. The grifters who want to turn our democratic republic into their own piggy bank are counting on us to get tired. They expect us to sit down, shut up, and quit.
We have to be as persistent as they are.
If you believe that millions of Americans must not lose their health insurance, make those phone calls. Again. And again. Both Oklahoma senators have made it clear that they don’t really care about our opinion, but call anyway. If we don’t keep speaking up, we will have to tote our share of the blame if Oklahomans die or go bankrupt because the ACA is repealed.
If you believe that access to healthcare, contraception, and education are the way to reduce the number of abortions, speak up. Contribute to Planned Parenthood. Do it in the names of the poor women who are being denied access to basic care and in the names of young people who aren’t given all the facts.
If you believe that refugees should be able to flee the violence and discrimination in their own countries, speak up. Find ways to help refugee families. Don’t let fear win. Being good neighbors makes us safer than bombing other countries ever will.
If you believe that the only hope for the future is educated, healthy citizens, tell legislators that they caused the mess we’re in with unwarranted tax cuts. You can’t make a country great by being so austere that children go hungry and schools are closed.
If you believe that neither the left nor the right is always correct, that there is room for discussion and compromise, speak up. We can’t drown out the voices of whole segments of society and expect justice. We all have a right to be heard, respectfully. Yes, that means listening to people with whom you don’t agree. If we don’t listen to them, how can we expect them to listen to us?
Finally, none of this will matter if we don’t get a handle on corruption. When a couple of billionaires can drive the conversation, when a network can gull millions of people into voting against their own self interest, when dark money decides who wins an election, the people lose. This is why we have to take to the streets. This is why we have to kneel during the Star Spangled Banner. This is why we have to keep calling our legislators, even if they are bought and paid for.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer