Earlier this year, I drove three hours with my two daughters Linda, age 10, and Brisa, age 12, to participate in a rally for the Affordable Care Act in Montgomery.
“But it’s Saturday,” Brisa complained.
“I know it’s Saturday, but this is important,” I replied.
“Why?” asked Linda.
“Because everyone should have the right to see a doctor,” I answered, having previously distilled the complicated issue of Medicaid Expansion down to a level I was sure they would understand.
“Did mom lose her health insurance?” asked Brisa with a hint of panic on her face.
“No,” I said. (We have family coverage through my wife’s employer).
“Whew,” sighed Brisa relieved.
“But there are lots of people who don’t have insurance and Governor Bentley is refusing to allow the state to participate in a program that would not only allow 300,000 people or so to have medical coverage, it would also bring a lot of money into Alabama.”
“Why? Why does he have to be so mean?” Brisa inquired.
“I think it has a lot to do with trying to make the President look bad,” I replied.
“I don’t want to go because the police might be there and will take us to jail,” said Linda.
“Yeah, I don’t want to go to jail because then we will end up being placed in foster homes and we will never see you again,” added Brisa, who has a flair for the dramatic.
“Look, the police will be there but they are mainly going to be there to keep us safe from people who disagree with us. Don’t worry,” I said. “Besides, you girls are going to help me make a sign.”
“What will the sign say, daddy?” said Linda who loves to draw and color.
“What do you think it should say?”
“How about: Everyone should have the right to see a doctor!”
“I think that’s perfect,” I replied, thinking how very proud I am of my daughters.
So we drove up to Montgomery, held up our sign, and I even ended up being interviewed by two local TV stations.
As I later explained to my daughters, there was a Unitarian minister named Edward Everett Hale who said: “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do.” So even though we can’t make Governor Bentley change his mind, it was our duty to stand up and ask him to do the right thing.
This post was written by Ray Ables, leader of the Children’s Fellowship class and chair the Education Committee at the Unitarian Fellowship in Fairhope, Alabama.