When I was a visiting nurse during the Reagan administration there were a lot of cuts to health services for the poor and underserved. We had to make decisions about who would receive services and for how long. Our team would have long discussions about these decisions and often there were disagreements. We had a patient who had ulcerated burns on his legs and we went in daily for his bandage changes. Since the agency was paid per visit, this brought in revenue. At a certain point, my opinion was that this person could change their own bandages and our resources could be utilized elsewhere. There were others on the team who agreed, but our supervisor did not. One time while making my case to her and describing my confusion about why some patients, needier than this one, have services cut, she explained in a hushed whisper, that she was a conservative republican and agrees with all the cuts that are being made in services, but the agency needs the money, so we have to keep providing it to those who have a payment source, whether they need it or not. I was 24 years old and supporting my husband through school. I was pregnant with our second child and needed this job that paid a whopping $6.12 per hour, so I stopped arguing and complied. But this was my first insight into how broken our system is, and it has only gotten worse.
Though I begrudgingly complied with this, I did talk with others about the supervisor’s rationale. I did that in hushed tones, fearful of losing my job. There were many political arguments in my social circle at the time and I would often bring up this example. “Republicans are hypocrites!”, I’d spew whenever I could, but nothing changed.
I never threatened to expose this supervisors actions to authorities. I complained about it a lot, but that was a lot of wasted energy, as complaining often is. I realized this past year when I was constantly complaining about our current system, that I was turning into a person I didn’t want to be. Feeling unheard, undervalued, exhausted, and frustrated with advocating for women and going nowhere, I quit. But I didn’t give up the fight. I wrote about it. In meeting after meeting where my voice was hushed and demeaned, I’d listened to lies being emphatically pounded out as truth, and I finally stopped playing the game, and wrote.
This blog started out as a commentary on what was happening in Congo and insights about the book. But not having any rules or a clear goal, I’ve let it wander down an unmarked path. It’s turned into a sort of public journal, something I never really foresaw. To my knowledge, it’s legal to write about my experience and perceptions, after all, it is my opinion. My take on things. This country so rabidly protects the second amendment, I’m assuming we’ll do the same for the first. I honestly never thought people would read this, but it turns out, that they do! And some people don’t like it. So…
If we are really gong to stand by our convictions, it should be fine to make them public, right? What’s the big secret? If you want to say that Ronald Reagan was the best thing that ever happened to this country, then quietly milk that system for your own means, you shouldn’t feel like hiding that, right? You believe what you are doing is right, right? So if you really believe what you are doing and saying is right, then no problem with me writing about it, right?