Dr. Sara: Why I marched this weekend
I marched on Saturday. Alongside friends, family, colleagues, patients, and strangers, I marched. It felt great. It felt hopeful. It felt patriotic. Turns out, millions of others marched too! Returning home, my kids and I had fun following a Twitter feed of photographs from as far away as Australia and Africa. I have many reasons for peaceably marching — a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America.
As a physician, my grievances focus on healthcare. I oppose the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) without a formalized plan to grow on its successes and remediate its failures. I’m frustrated that my representatives in the House and Senate have been attempting to repeal it for over five years and still do not have a plan to show the American people.
I am terrified that my sweet patients who have chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and childhood cancer might survive their terrible hand of cards only to be denied insurance coverage in the future.
I’m worried for my older kids, who will soon need to find insurance coverage on their own but may just go without coverage as many of us did when we were adult students. I worry that the gaps in healthcare coverage will make our population sicker.
As a woman, I also know that having control over my reproductive destiny was critical to my success. We need comprehensive reproductive health programs in this country that include education, disease prevention, and family planning. Girls need to know that their bodies belong to them. They need to feel proud to be female and empowered to make their own healthcare decisions with accurate information. I marched because I trust young women to make those decisions.
As a mother, I feel the need to support the social safety net that protects children and families. This includes programs from pregnancy forward. If we want people to choose to carry pregnancies to term when the circumstances are hard, we need to support those families. Lifting people out of poverty is not an easy task, but there are many excellent local, state, and national organizations working on this issue.
Finally, yesterday I was discussing the word “reckless” with my 6-year-old — in the eyes of a child, reckless is the opposite of careful. It occurred to me, as we were trading examples, that reckless also describes the political nonsense we’ve been witnessing. Leaders being reckless with words, reckless with promises, reckless with their constituents. In this context, it is the opposite of respect, kindness, inclusion, humility, courage, and wisdom — words I want associated with my leaders.
I feel unmoored because so many are being reckless with our rights, our liberty, and our hearts. I marched to show the world that it is not OK to be reckless with our girls, our disabled, our Muslims, our LGBT community, our citizens. I marched for me — and I marched for you.