When I was in junior high, I remember learning about Sufragettes…these brave, intelligent women who stood up to popular belief and put lives on the line to vote. For whatever reason, that courage imparted on me the value of my voice, as small as it may seem sometimes, to the individuals who step forward to become decision makers in my world. Because of them, I have never missed a vote.
I voted with Quebec during the referendum in the 90s while living in Alberta…I voted against parties, for people, federally to protect myself from those who would remove my human rights, and municipally for those who listened to me personally. I always vote. I chafed for an American people who assumed their vote didn’t count, who didn’t use their small voice, and who are now stuck with a living caricature as a president. I believe in my little voice and that little X as a powerful tool and thus I exercise it. Rightly or wrongly, I believe in the democratic process.
I work with kids. I am a lead worker at a group home for children in care. They come to me and my team when they are removed and we have an emergency and temporary purpose. Consequently, our youth are removed and transitioned around by people high up with the authority to make decisions. Many of them are wonderful and compassionate leaders who know the work we do on the front line. But they answer to a different “god”. They answer to a spreadsheet, a budget, a document of ink and color that can never represent a child who was abused, abandoned or left with nightmares and fears that are to many of us incomprehensible. They reduce a child who cried on my shoulder on shift to an ID or code on a sheet of paper that is paramount in a budgetary decision rather than a human decision.
I pity the leaders who make choices that impact human lives who know the impact of what they do. I personally could not use paper and numbers to decide about people and their fate. It would hurt my heart. I know it is fraught with pitfalls and challenges. But that is why you must do it with compassion.
My father is an exceptional man. He is a veteran and has shown courage you and I watch in movies and read in books…his books if you are curious! He is a humanitarian and actively sought to change the attitudes of violence in his home country of Northern Ireland. He is a feminist who pushed hard for girls in PEI to play soccer, creating a culture of female soccer at the grassroots level. Everyone who has ever played against my big sister probably hates him for that, but I helped many an opponent by being her polar opposite in skill and mercifully playing fullback to help with the other teams goals for stats. My dad is an author, a blogger, and a community minded man. He volunteered in schools with the LOVE program, delivered meals on wheels, and spent years working on causes where someone needed a voice. He transferred his adoloescent courage in the Royal Navy into the courage needed to be the voice of someone who couldn’t speak for themselves. He raised two daughters with more love than you could imagine and turned us into powerful, courageous and loving women who know no equal and stand strong in beliefs. He also once helped his father in law deliver a calf and kissed the blarney stone. He hasn’t missed much.
But right now he needs a voice. He needs to not be a number on a budget sheet. He needs to be the one receving the compassion and courage he has shown and taught. The PEI health department claims this drug won’t help him, that his doctor, a leading hemotologist, is not correct, and that they do not need to spend the resources to save his life. His doctor recommends it as a 70% effective solution. If he were well enough to travel he could be treated in a neighbouring province. But his own government sees only the number and not the person in need. They don’t see the veteran, the father, the husband, the man. They see a budget line.
He isn’t a number. He isn’t a drain on your resources. He doesn’t need as much for the treatment as has been spent on his health waiting for it. He needs four treatments that will let him continue this life of his. A life unmatched and immeasurable on a budget spreadsheet.
Thank you Susannah God Bless and keep reading