I made calls to a few Senators. I felt proud of doing that minimal amount as I must admit: Sometimes all I’ve done is post on Facebook, “Call Congress!” figuring I got everyone else to call and my work was done.
Don’t get me wrong. I have dialed. But at the beginning of this administration, I followed the directive that we should only call our own Congress members. I live in New York City. Obviously, they are voting my way. The calls were ridiculous. “Hi, is this Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez’s office, representing lower Manhattan? She’s voting to protect the ACA, right? Of course, she is. Never mind.”
But with this healthcare fright and the threat of the Republican bill passing, this was no time to cry phone phobia.
I targeted a few Senators who are worried about the effect of Medicaid cuts on the drug crisis in their states. But I ran into a roadblock:
I had real difficulty getting out the word “opioid”—and the word “epidemic.” It was particularly hard to say them together. The messages sounded like this: “And Medicaid cuts would be terrible because of the oy-pioid ec-edemic. I mean, epidemic. I mean, oy-, opioid. Opioid, right? It still sounds weird.” I finally just said “drug problem.”
No one was going to listen to my messages. But if someone did, they’d say, “We do have a huge drug problem. This person can barely talk.”
Opioid is a tricky word to say. How do people even call for help? “Hotline, I am addicted to oiyp … opi … oop … No, I can’t send an email instead–I can’t spell it. How many i’s are there? Where do the i’s go?”
Maybe I can’t form words because I have been terrified about the repeal of Obamacare and glued to the news about it. As a result, I can name more Senators than I ever have before. Now I run into a room yelling, “Capito’s wavering! Senator Shelley Moore Capito. West Virginia. You don’t know Capito? Ugh.””
Did my small effort make any difference? All I know is that soon after I left a message at her office, Senator Susan Collins came out as an official “no.” Coincidence? I don’t think so.