Hey Ya’ll!! I’m finally back sitting down! LOL! I came back from D.C. last week, but I was so sick with an arthritis flare and then had some work with Happy Family Brands over the weekend. I want to talk a lot about D.C., what I did and who I met. But first I wanted to share something with you that I wrote on the plane ride home from D.C. back to Los Angeles.
When I was younger the best part of the day was being able to catch ABC’s Nightly News or 20/20 with my mom. It was very rare that she was home early enough for such a thing. But when we did, it was awesome! There were smoked oysters, sliced green apples, garlic cheese, crackers and either strawberry or Vanilla with chocolate covered almonds. Or the ultimate, Coke Floats! And of course the love of my preschool life, Peter Jennings! One would think that at 3 years old, I probably didn’t understand a damn thing Peter Jennings, Hugh Downs or Barbara Walters were talking about. Not true. I understood general things. I knew whom & recognized the President and other popular world leaders at the time. I generally understood the significance of the Berlin Wall coming down and watched it come tumbling down! I understood, America to be the most powerful country in the world. I knew that we were in a disagreement with a place called The Soviet Union and the term The Cold War was associated with this. I knew where the President lived. I knew there was a supreme court and I knew there were a group of lawmakers called Senators & Congressmen. These things I understood. Not strictly from Peter Jennings. Although I love to give him credit for everything because I just might still be in love with him! But really I got it from listening to my grandmother & aunts. Reading the newspaper with my uncle and grandfather. And, of course, watching Nightly News with Peter Jennings with mommy.
In 8th grade, I met my Honors American History teacher, Mr. Don LaFraniere. He was funny, engaging and he gave it to us straight. He took my fascination for American History and policy and morphed it into an obsessive love for stories told in the history books and the ones left out. I broke down the government by administration. I was obsessed with the figuring out how the evolution of The People went from muskets & slave ships to a multiracial gender-neutral classroom. Of course I did all this between X-Files episodes and speech tournaments. Nerd Alert! Now that my parents and family have read this, they can now see why my first serious boyfriend was Mr. Brilliant Political Strategist. And I’m sure now the rest of you can see why my son is obsessed with Wolf Blitzer, Vice, Mr. Orange Speaker, The Son Pwesident Bush & Pwesident Obama. And why at four, I shattered his entire world with the news of Abraham Lincoln’s death…from over 100 years ago. But I digress.
Now they say that the entertainment and political worlds are intertwined. And to a certain extent, I would have to agree. Most creative artists are passionate, smart individuals with strong convictions and ties to community activism. So it doesn’t surprise a lot of my friends and family to see me jetting off to Washington D.C. to advocate for something I believe in. I’ve always had an interest in politics and a passion for various subjects like education, civil rights, children’s rights, etc. But nothing has hit close to home like my need to advocate for Gastrointestinal Diseases & Cancers. Not to say that I will ever stop the fight against AIDS or the fight for a better education system for ALL children. One can multi-task! And to be honest the way Ulcerative Colitis took over my body in such a short amount of time, I feel like we don’t have enough time. I know that the time for G.I advocacy is NOW. So, here I am writing on a plane leaving Washington D.C. after spending two days in our Nation’s capitol learning how to make your message heard.
Now as much as I have advocated and LOVE and am so GRATEFUL for Healthcare Reform, you know I am also a believer in the idea that a bill or a resolution can always be modified and SHOULD be modified. No bill is perfect. Although without Obamacare, I’d probably be broke and dead, I still think it needs a little ratification. We need to add medical research funding into our healthcare plan! It just doesn’t make sense that we don’t. Okay, so now we are giving our citizens healthcare. I think the time has come to start funding medical research on some of these deadly diseases. Without research we are unable to keep the races for cures a float. Without research how can we find a way to properly diagnose and treat? Do you know that within three years of diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis, I had three different treatments? And one of those treatments included medication for IBS, not IBD. I’ve been tested for Crohn’s, Lupus, Fibromaylgia, Leukemia, & Celiac Disease while already having an Ulcerative Colitis diagnosis. If we put a little more money into researching these diseases, I can almost guarantee we will cut the percentage of misdiagnosis in half. That will also cut the amount of x-rays, CT scans and blood tests a single patient will have to take and spend money on.
What I’ve learned over the years in my love of policy that a lot of things that aren’t or shouldn’t be political end up turning democrat against republican. But these issues, the issues of health and healing our citizens shouldn’t be used as a tennis ball in the Senate & House chamber. Nor should it be a bargaining chip for re-election. It should just get down. I understand the game, but I think the game sucks. People are dying. There’s nothing political about dying.