Explaining Myself Standing on a Soapbox #MondayBlogs #TheResistance

The last few months have been a crazy roller-coaster of emotions. Most, if not all of you, know why. Thank goodness, someone has a sense of humor.


I totally get why people would want to tune all out politics. What’s going on in our country right now is an effing fiasco; a train wreck of epic proportions; a depressing, dismaying, infuriating, shocking clusterf**k of authoritarianism, fascism and isolationism. Who wouldn’t want to bury their head in the sand, or in a book, or behind a mountain of yarn and two flying knitting needles?

It’s not in my DNA to look the other way. At times it’s a blessing. Often times it’s a curse.

Granted, much of what is happening has little to no direct or immediate effect on me. I am white. I am way beyond reproductive age. I have a job that pays well by Florida state government standards. I have a good HMO. I own my house. My husband and I tend to be fiscally conservative so if I happened to lose my job, we would still be fine financially. Except that my husband has a serious back problem, one that will likely require surgery, and so health care coverage is not something we can take for granted. At least, not in the way that #45 can or Paul Ryan can or Rand Paul can. Any one of them can have a catastrophic illness and not worry about how they’ll pay for treatment and recovery. And, yet, they would accuse me of feeling entitled.

You know, I wasn’t born into a wealthy family. Hell, I wasn’t born into a middle-class or lower middle-class family. My mom was one of 12 born to a so-so farmer (her words: “he wasn’t progressive”). My dad’s family was even poorer. Both my dad and his sister had mental health problems that plagued their lives. My dad couldn’t keep a job so eventually my mom had to take on minimum wage work to support her four kids. And we got Social Security because of his disability. Yes, the very Social Security program that the GOP Congress seems hellbent on destroying was the difference between my family living in a house (that my mom finally paid off when I was 16) and living god-knows-where. The very Social Security program that enabled me to go to college, to aspire to a more secure life than what my mother had known. And let’s not forget the PELL Grant and the other grants that enabled so many of my generation to get our educations without having to go into a sinkhole of debt. Compare my current income with what I would likely be making without my college degrees and I think you could say that the country has benefited from its investment in me.

The GOP Congress wants to totally destroy Planned Parenthood. When I came of age, I started going to Planned Parenthood for my yearly checkups. And, yes, for birth control because, no, I didn’t want to have children. When I was a young adult going to a Planned Parenthood in Oakland, California, the nurses tried to counsel me to use something other than birth control pills. They made a point of providing me with the lowest estrogen pills possible because they knew that we women were simply guinea pigs for Big Pharma. I didn’t have a boyfriend then but the pills were convenient and they regulated my menstrual cycle. I had my priorities.

The nurses at Planned Parenthood tried to warn me. Eventually I did go off the pills, opting to have a tubal ligation in 1988. Too little, too late. Fast forward to 2001 and I’m diagnosed with endometrial cancer, developed no doubt because I had so much estrogen in my body. Menstruation at nine. Birth control pills for roughly ten years. No pregnancies to deplete some of the estrogen. So when people demonize Planned Parenthood, I can only think of how much foresight they had compared to my HMO doctors of later years. Planned Parenthood was looking out for me, so I feel compelled to look out for them.

I’m white, but I wasn’t born into privilege. I wasn’t born onto a level playing field. I can’t imagine what it must be like to not be white, to have to work even harder just because of skin color. Oh, please, there is racism in this country. #45 is evidence of that. Sadly, our country has been built in part on the distinctions we make between ourselves and others on the basis of what we see. And the first thing we see is skin color. I saw it in my small town growing up, where there were only three black kids in my high school. I can’t say for sure that any of them were treated badly, but I believe the one male teenager was pretty damn lonely. You see, they were all cousins so at 15, 16 years old, when everyone else was dating, he wasn’t because no parents wanted their white daughter going out with a black boy. Nothing personal, they would say.

I can’t forget my own history. I can’t ignore my sense of “there but for the grace of God …” because, frankly, much of what I was given, I took for granted. I never thought that Planned Parenthood might someday have to close its doors to me because there was no longer funding for it. I never thought that the grants and Social Security I received might someday not be there because Congress wouldn’t think I was worthy enough. But that is what is happening to young people now. They already have fewer advantages than I had. And what few they do have, the GOP Congress and #45 want to take away. Add to that, the racism and sexism and xenophobia in this country. The “shining city on the hill” is tarnished.

I know people (some I’m even related to) who would say, “I don’t care” when issues like immigration or racism are raised. They would argue that they had had it tough too so why should they give an inch to anyone. I don’t argue with them. It’s a waste of time. I just know that I have to live with myself. And I don’t fight to protect the rights of others in order to ensure that they might in turn protect my rights. I do it because it’s the right thing to do.

Excuse me now as I step off my soapbox and attend to the bright spots in my life:

My boys

30 thoughts on “Explaining Myself Standing on a Soapbox #MondayBlogs #TheResistance

  1. Would it be OK if I cross-posted this article to WriterBeat.com? I’ll be sure to give you complete credit as the author. There is no fee, I’m simply trying to add more content diversity for our co7mmunity and I liked what you wrote. If “OK” please respond via email.


  2. I am one who was a single mother whose children were covered by health insurance by my ex-husband. I went to Planned Parenthood for pap smears, annual breast exams and some condoms. My grandmother died of breast cancer so no Pill for me! Anyway, they could leave the doors open of PP on his golfng and skiing budget (with 60 special agents along) alone. Sadly, I work with approximately 200 coworkers, 4 are Democrats. For President Barack Obama’s first inauguration, they set up a huge hall full of chairs. Only four plus myself and the HR Dept head showed up. They had announced we could take a longer lunch to watch, so the small group moved from large room to small conference room. Two of us actually prayed for his safety later that day. She was one of a dozen black people in our warehouse. She wept openly saying she “had never expected to see the day come for a black President.”
    Anyway, not sure why these ignorant and rather below middle class citizens support Trump (I will NEVER) call him “my President.” So crazy but maybe they are ALL closet bigots, afraid of race, sex and gays. . . So extremely embarrassed to be “white.” Thanks, Marie! I am happy to feel comfortable and hope from finding this pocket full of people who abhor this new regime. Hugs, Robin xo

    • Wow, that must have been quite a chilling experience to have so few people want to watch an historic inauguration. You know, it had renewed my faith in my country when Obama was elected and then re-elected. Although I will admit I was anxious because I really believed someone would try to assassinate him. I really resent how obstructionist the Republican Congress was during the last eight years, doing all they could to limit his legacy. I never thought we could roll back the years so quickly (makes my head spin). There are a lot of theories about Trump supporters, but I’m tired of hearing about them. They are a minority. Keep in mind, Trump is president because of a technicality, Robin. He lost the popular vote by a wide margin. What we need to do now is keep up the resistance and flip party control of Congress in 2018. Hugs to you, too! xoxo

      • It was such a shock! Thanks Marie for seeing how gruesome this experience was!
        I will continue to hope and pray for a possible impeachment but will have problems accepting the years ahead if we are stuck with him. (Horrors!) Unfortunately, I was born in a Democratic county and now live in a Republican one! It was refreshing to go home over Easter and have two brothers and a SIL, with a mother (who may have a few memory loss issues) all worry and speak of Trump in questioning and aghast tones! Smiles and hugs, of course I realize that he got in due to the electoral college. Keep the faith, Marie.

        • I always bring up the Electoral College because so many people still talk as if he actually won the popular vote. He didn’t even win the EC by the widest margin. Sad! (😏)

  3. First off, I’m Canadian. We have universal health care which is both reassuring and comforting to know that it’s there if I need it. Which, because of a blood condition, I am regularly followed and would hate to think how much it would cost me without medi-care.
    Now about #45. It is really difficult for me to understand how the administrators of your country let this bully get away with all his self-serving behaviors. It disgusts and angers me to see how one man, especially one as arrogant, racist and untruthful thinks he’s above every one else. Rules for him just don’t apply. Whether it’s refusing to show his taxes,ignoring nepotism laws and just plainly not even caring how much he uses tax payers’ money for his own pleasures and to increase his wealth.
    As your neighbor, I have always looked up to the USA and living close enough to both the Vermont and New York border have often gone there on day trips. Not anymore since #45 and his spineless followers has poisoned the WH. I seem to have lost interest.I know that I am not alone in this. Just look at how tourism in your country has decreased because of #45.
    Hopefully, your post along with voices such as Ana Navarro and other wonderful news journalists as Jake Tapper and Lawrence O’Donnell and the very entertaining late night stand-ups who are standing up to #45 and his crooked ways will put the USA back on track.Sooner rather than later.
    Wishing you, dear neighbor, all the best for your country!

    • Carol, thank you so much for your comment and your support 🙂 I’ve heard criticisms of the health plans offered in Canada and Briton: nothing is perfect but universal care has to be better than no care at all. If more people had access to free preventive care, we’d likely see a decline in the more expensive use of emergency rooms, etc. Given our current political condition, we have our episodes of fatalism (“why even try?”), but I really believe there are more dissenters out there than supporters of #45 and so we must, must keep the pressure on. 2018 should be an interesting mid-term election year 😉

  4. You know I’m with you. The backsliding we’re doing in this country leaves me feeling sicker each day, and if things keep going the way they’re going, that sickness might be both figurative and literal!

      • I could do so much more were I not an author peddling books whose opinion no one wants to hear. 😉 But you’re picking up the slack for the rest of us! And I’m educating my sons and getting them involved. They’ll both be voting next election!

  5. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 40 about two months ago. Everyday more insurance statements come in the mail, and I count my lucky stars to be covered under the Affordable Care Act. It’s one of the reasons I have continued to freelance. I squeak by from my business and some would consider me an insurance freeloader because I get a good subsidy to help cover my premium. To anyone who bitches healthcare and will say it’s a not a right, I’ll say wait until you get cancer or some other heinously expensive disease. The scope of how one program impacts another is too big for most soundbite bit pea brains to understand.

    • Hey, Jeri, I am so sorry to hear that you have breast cancer. And you’re only 40. God, that is so, so wrong! I hope your insurance can provide you with the care you need. I firmly believe that we should have a single-payer system. We essentially have that with Medicare. The last thing you need right now is to worry about how to pay for your treatment and recovery. Many years ago, when I was in my early 40s, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. Fortunately, it was caught very early so “all” I needed was a total abdominal hysterectomy. (Indeed, I was lucky I didn’t need chemo or radiation.) Unfortunately, I had started a new job with which I had an HMO plan. Three months in a row the benefits office of my new employer neglected to pay my premiums on time and so three times my husband and I had to beg and plead with the benefits office to pay the premiums because the HMO was refusing to pay for my treatment and surgeries until the premiums were paid. I don’t know what I would have done without my husband who managed to keep a cool head during this time. But why did we have to go through it at all? If we had had a single-payer plan, I wouldn’t have been fighting with my employer to ensure I was covered. I have countless relatives and friends who have had fundraisers in order to help pay medical bills. That should not have to happen in this, the wealthiest country in the world. When you are sick, all you should be focused on is getting better, not whether you can pay for your treatment. Okay, off my soapbox again. You’re tough, Jeri. I know you’re going to be okay. <3

  6. I asked our family doctor for the pill when I was young. He was devoutly Catholic and against the pill. The Pill. He lectured me instead. This was terrifying to me because of my shyness and insecurity. Then I went to Planned Parenthood and had a checkup and got the pill. It was all handled by a doctor in the SAME small clinic. I had just asked the wrong doctor. That is the mildest thing possible that women went through in those days. But it was an adverse experience before PP, nonetheless. You did a great job describing where you “came from,” Marie. Since we’re about the same age, I am betting that you didn’t grow up in a small northern college town based on your experience with race in the high school. White girls were starting to date black boys in my town. The reverse was not as common, though. In other words, the winds of change had started to blow through Kalamazoo. Just started.

    • Hey, Luanne, I am so grateful for PP. I was 18 when I had my first visit and I needed privacy since I still lived at home. My home was miles from any college although we had/have a small community college that I eventually went to. I did have some white girlfriends dating black guys from nearby towns around that time. Yes, it was becoming a “thing” and most if not all the parents I knew were deadset against it. Some parents were overtly racist so it was tense at times. And, frankly, for some white girls, it was one of many ways to rebel against their parents. But, gee, we were all teenagers just trying to make sense of our lives and where we fit. And all of us–white, black, brown–were bucking against our parents’ control.

      • I emailed you. This is such a good thing to talk about. It seems like “ancient history,” but we were there–and how many people our age did it affect adversely? BTW, I still lived at home when I went to PP, too. What a mistake to go to that doctor first!

  7. I want a silver lining in this dark cloud we are living in. I guess at least we are getting people actively involved. But I worry. There have been presidents I didn’t like. But none that made me feel so strongly. I didn’t worry they were going to destroy our way of living/lifestyle or even our very lives…until now. I am fearful. Especially when I see that only about half of registered voters actually voted (and only 18% in Indiana). That should be a priority for us. Get out the vote. Don’t let a small percentage of people control things. I, like you, must have healthcare coverage – my MS meds are about $75,000 a year. That is certainly not in my budget. Is the ACA perfect? Nope. But it’s better than what I had before Obama (and remarkably cheaper – I was paying $18K a year for insurance with a $5K deductible and now it’s only $12K a year with a $4K deductible). But healthcare aside, im tired if being marginalized because I’m a woman. Women’s rights are human rights is so much more than a slogan.

    Whew! Ok, I will get off my soapbox for now (but I keep it close always) 🙃

    • Thank you so much for commenting, Pam! Yeah, the whole anti-woman thing makes me see red. I can’t believe we have to fight that fight all over again! I have a good friend who is also on the ACA. She works for a nonprofit and cannot afford to slide back and pay the premiums and deductibles that she was paying before the ACA. Indeed, it is not perfect; but what the GOP have been “offering” is so much worse.

        • Oh, isn’t that the truth! They are all about the fetus, but don’t give a damn about kids once they’re born. Marco Rubio (senator from Florida and man who has never held a real job in his life) even said that he was against abortion for women who had contracted the Zika virus and were likely to deliver a child with microcephaly. Seriously. I know some women would go ahead with the pregnancy, but that should be her choice and Rubio should not have any say in it. Although I’d love to force him to have a vasectomy.

  8. You know I’m on the same page, and I’m trying to see a silver lining in all this: that a resistance has been awakened and millions of people have been snapped out of their complacency. I remember my dad saying, when I was in my thirties, “You don’t understand what’s being taken away from you.” Of course, he was talking from a conservative pov, so I just kind of shook my head and rolled my eyes, but now I see exactly what’s being taken away and what has a target on it. Things like Social Security, Medicare, public education for God’s sake! Not to mention reproductive freedom, including contraception. The Handmaid’s Tale suddenly doesn’t look like fiction anymore.

    Anyway. We can all do something, even if it’s relatively passive like writing letters to our representatives. But we can’t get discouraged, because this is gonna take a while.

    Thanks for speaking out, Marie.

    • Hey, thank you, Kevin! I had some trepidation with this post, but I felt like I couldn’t write anything else until I got it off my chest. What bothers me most is how many people I know who feel they don’t need to get involved because, right now anyway, none of what is happening affects them directly. I’m still kind of in shock that the GOP and #45 are rolling us back so quickly to the 19th century. I don’t think the GOP was always this mean-spirited, but, geez, Reagan seems like a liberal compared to these guys and gals. We’ll see what 2018 brings. In the meantime, #Resist!

  9. Your words have a great deal of power Marie. I can’t help but believe things are going to get much worse and hope you’ll come back to the box frequently. MWAH

    • MWAH back you, John! One thing I didn’t mention was how much I miss visiting other blogs like your own. I need to make more time because your humor and generosity are a balm to my frustrated soul. Seriously. I miss you. I’m sure I’ll be back on my soapbox again, but I hope to spend some time visiting you first 🙂

    • Thanks, Merril. PP does so much for women and girls and couples (hello, family planning). I contribute to them but organizations like PP (or any nonprofit for that matter) need a steady stream of revenue that only the government can provide. Donations ebb and flow and you can’t plan services around that. We will persist 🙂

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