Monday, August 7, 2017

Stoking the Base

OFA invited me to a public event on a sunny Saturday morning.  I debated taking Amster's boys, but got caught up in the fact that they are now older than CTG will ever be, and so I went on my own.  That took some courage, a prophylactic email to the organizer affirming that there would be security, and the ability to stand for an hour or two.  I had it covered, but I was still anxious.

But Topher Spiro, policy wonk hero, was driving a bus across the USofA,
and he chose to stop in Tucson. 
Civic pride and curiosity about his message to exhausted members of the choir (after a resounding victory on healthcare) combined to propel me across town.  I knew I'd made the right decision when I saw his shirt.
Big Cuter wore the same shirt  last week in Indiana.  Explaining it to me, he called it his stealth shirt, the message arcane enough to be safe in any political environment.

Veterans for Peace were there to keep us safe, but there wasn't any danger.  I wandered through the crowd, commiserating with other women of a certain age who were holding I Stand with Planned Parenthood signs; feeling disgusted by having to fight this battle all over again lent a certain poignance to the event. We were crones, fighting for others, as we fought for ourselves decades ago.

   There were opportunities to thank Senator McCain for his vote
and to use Sen. Flake's face as a blank canvas
which felt oddly appropriate.

The media was out, 
and so were the Mayor
Gabby's trauma surgeon and my State Legislator.

Gabby and Mark were the headliners, and their words, written together but delivered by everyone's favorite Navy flier, left me inspired and moved and proud.
But Steve and little Anthony, 
stole the show. This big guy, a self-described fixer, wasn't looking for a hand out.  He was just looking for affordable insurance coverage for his little boy, who will, over time, need another heart transplant.  Yes, another.  Anthony's big brother was prouder of his own brand new big boy underwear than he was of anything else, and that made the story more immediate.  It can happen to anyone was the theme of the morning, and the urgency was reinforced by moms and foster moms and students who were going along just fine until medical emergencies shattered their worlds. 
The humans staring down at us from the side of the bus overshadowed it all. 
The message is simple. 
Thank those who do the right thing.
Chastise those who don't, who say one thing but vote another.
Speak out at town halls, if you have them, and demand answers from those who are silent.
Be armed with the facts to dispute the Obamacare is failing meme.
Be proud but continue to be vigilant.  

And then it was over.  One hour and fifteen minutes and we were dismissed.  
People lined up around Mark and Gabby as I walked away.  I was inspired, as always, by Gabby's resilience and exuberance and strength, and now by Anthony and Topher and OFA.  And I was feeling inordinately proud of my new t-shirt, bestowed upon me by our OFA organizer.  
I'll be part of the delegation dropping off Thank You postcards at Sen. McCain's office on Wednesday.  I have to keep up the fight, to continue to deserve my shirt.

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