Quite a few years ago, a friend of mine (when a person starts a story saying this, it usually means that it’s really about the person themselves, not their friend), made a decision about which two senatorial candidates he was going to support. One candidate’s stance on issues was more extreme while the other candidate had a more moderate outlook. While my friend favored the more extreme candidate’s views on the issues, he realized that the more extreme approach was never going to make it into law, so he supported the more moderate candidate. This hope for bipartisan solutions seems to be a thing of the past. It seems that the extremists in both parties have much more impact on Washington than the moderates. It seems bipartisanism is a dying attribute. Due to favorable district design (i.e., gerrymandering) more and more House Districts are becoming safe for one party or the other. For a candidate to win the party’s nomination, the candidate needs to move to the far left or far right depending on the party in control. It seems that the only moderates to be found are those in competitive House Districts. While less prevalent in the Senate, the same dynamic prevails. This polarization is a reflection of our divided nation.
Now you may quickly take me to task pointing out the debt ceiling bill that just passed, but I believe that this forced cooperation only occurred due to the fact that neither party wanted to be blamed for the country defaulting. It was, however, refreshing to witness the negotiations and the give and take in which both sides participated. It does give me hope that there might be other places where there is enough common ground to pass some bipartisan legislation. So, what does all this have to do with whether your voice has a chance of being heard over the din of the extremists’ voices?
Decades ago, a large group of Americans were labeled the “silent majority”. I think this label applies even more today than it did back then. The only thing we hear, on every form of communication, is the radical, extreme, divisive, and disrespectful voices of those whose only goal is to be heard rather than to solve problems. I think there is a group of people, like “my friend,” who would rather see our politicians generate solutions that don’t completely satisfy either party (or himself) but contain elements championed by each party. I’m not crazy enough to think this has a chance to happen in the short term, but I think it has a chance to slowly bring both parties back toward the middle. But it can only happen if the silent majority speaks up.
As we have done in the past, Seniors Speak Out has prepared a poll that we hope you will take. One of the most powerful ways we can get our opinion to those in Washington is by having large participation in a poll that clearly identifies where we stand on particular issues. We focus on healthcare issues at Seniors Speak Out, so our poll questions focus on how you feel about certain aspects of your healthcare.
The poll asks what your biggest concern about your healthcare is, what should Washington’s healthcare priorities be, what concerns you have concerning prescription drug price controls, what method you use to contact your lawmakers and how convenient and accessible you feel Medicare is. We also give you a chance to add any comments you might have on each question. We really want to know how you feel. Your answers will give us a chance to communicate your feelings to those is Washington who impact your and my healthcare.
We will also be holding a Facebook Live event on June 15th where I will host a special guest, Mark Gibbons from RetireSafe. We will discuss the poll and your responses to the questions. We will also discuss pertinent healthcare issues including threats to healthcare innovation and access. I hope that this poll and the follow-up Facebook Live event will give you the information you need and inspire you to contact your lawmakers and tell them how you feel. Contacting your lawmakers is a powerful way that you can make a difference.
You can take the poll by clicking here. You can sign up for the Facebook Live event by clicking here, and mark yourself as “going.” You can always go to our contact your lawmaker web page for an easy way to tell those who represent you in Washington how you feel.
I hope that you will take the opportunity to be active in how Washington regulates our healthcare. Take the poll, watch the Facebook live event, and then contact your lawmakers. These are great ways you can be involved in your healthcare.