Speak Out

The Trouble with ‘Midterms’

 

By Dawn DeSart
ACE Campaigns and Candidates Team Leader
Candidate for DuPage County Board, District 5

There’s a problem with “midterms.” No, not the elections themselves, but with the moniker of midterms. The word sounds like “halftime,” as in “halftime” during a football game, when you get up off your La-Z-Boy®, stretch, maybe use the restroom, maybe grab another beverage, and relax a bit until the thrill of the game begins again for the second half.

The midterm election, especially this midterm election on November 6th, is too important to be shrugged off as halftime between when 45 was elected and when (God willing) he is replaced in 2020. This midterm, voters have the opportunity to change the faces in Congress to reflect most Americans’ values, to elect people who will stand up to and call out 45’s egocentric agenda.

What’s at stake? Political commentator and radio host, Thom Hartmann, characterizes the nation’s political sides this way. “In 2018, being a conservative means being in favor of rich people and corporations running the country,” he says. “Being a progressive means you are in favor of ‘We, the People’ running the country.”

The upcoming midterms are our shot at taking back control of the House and the Senate, allowing “We, the People” to once again lead this great country.

Tired of the hatred? Me, too! The vitriol and negativity spewed by this president is utterly exhausting. Christian pastor and author, John Pavlovitz, writes on his blog that “we don’t need to convince or coddle or win over hatred, and we don’t need to outdo it either. We need to outnumber it. We need to outlove it. We need to outvote it.”

The midterms on November 6th is our opportunity to vote it out.

But, what’s in a name? I was reminded of how weak midterms sounds when I heard radio host Norman Goldman call the upcoming election the “congressional election.”

Yes! Now that’s powerful!

November’s “congressional election” is vital to elect brave, ethical leaders who will work toward affordable healthcare, education, jobs and wages, and clean energy. People who will not use our valuable resources toward things that don’t benefit real people, like the Space Force and the Wall.

Congressional elections matter now more than ever!

This is not halftime, this is act time!

Time to get up out of your La-Z-Boy® and act, march, volunteer, make calls on behalf of candidates, register to vote, donate, talk to your friends and neighbors, and most of all, vote on November 6th.

Vote in this congressional election, as if your country is at stake.

Because it is.

 


A five-time Emmy Award winner, Dawn DeSart is a journalist and local activist. She is running for the DuPage County Board, District 5, and has previously held positions on the Indian Prairie School District 204 School Board, the Wheatland Township Democrats, and the Fox Valley United Way. In 2000, then Naperville mayor A. George Pradel declared May 9th as “Dawn DeSart Day” in Naperville. For more information on Dawn, visit her website.

Distraction from the “Chaos Dark and Rude”: A Parting Gift to Americans from Senator John S. McCain

 

By Beverly George, ACE Leader

 

I found hopeful distraction last week in the celebration of the good and rich life of Senator John S. McCain, Republican from Arizona, who served with love, honor, and responsibility to country over political party.

He was eulogized across the nation and in its capitol eloquently and gracefully with shared stories from personal friends, political friends and opponents, and by his loving family.

His biography showed that while he graduated fifth from the bottom of his class at Annapolis, his spirit was fired in the crucible of war, which included five years of imprisonment and torture in the POW camp infamously named the Hanoi Hilton. The experience left him with the scars of battle and torture that he carried with him always, but it also left him with fierce convictions of what was right and what was wrong. While he often had strong words of dissent with his opponents, he never failed to apologize when he felt he had been harsh or wrong, and was always anxious to mend fences in order to move forward together.

Having served his country in war, in the House and Senate, and his family and friends in his personal life, his life’s work reflected the heart of America. His life was evidence of all that was, and still is, right with America.

Watching his funeral on September 1, a TV reporter mentioned the “Navy Hymn” would be played at the opening of the service and quoted a phrase, “the restless wave,” from the opening lines of both versions, the original 1861 version and the 1940 version used today.*

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,

I read through both versions and noted the 1861 version, second stanza, opens with the following.

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;

Those four lines ring sadly true of our country today, and, to me at least, the “peace” is that which so many of us are seeking from the current state of fear, hate, and resulting “chaos dark and rude.”

Today our country is not at peace with itself. It is not at peace with our age-old allies. To me, it has lost its moral compass and is careening wildly. But John McCain’s funeral, resonating often and literally with his own words, leaves us with the hope and the fire necessary to restore the peace, equilibrium, and shared humanity I believe we all seek.

After a storm, the restless wave does find peace. The next opportunity to find this peace for our nation will come on November 6, 2018.

 

* The original lyrics from 1861 compose a prayer, in many verses, for sailors lost at sea. The hymn was rewritten in 1940 to include soldiers on land, sea, and air. My source for this essay was Wikipedia, which presented two verses from each version. The Naval Academy publishes numerous verses for the 1861 version.

Navy Hymn–1861 version (for sailors lost at sea)

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren’s shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

 

Navy Hymn–1940 version (for soldiers on Land, Sea, and Air)

Almighty Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep:
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea.
O Christ, the Lord of hill and plain
O’er which our traffic runs amain
By mountain pass or valley low;
Wherever, Lord, thy brethren go,
Protect them by thy guarding hand
From every peril on the land.

O Spirit, whom the Father sent
To spread abroad the firmament;
O Wind of heaven, by thy might
Save all who dare the eagle’s flight,
And keep them by thy watchful care
From every peril in the air.
O Trinity of love and power,
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them whereso’er they go,
Thus evermore shall rise to thee
Glad praise from air and land and sea.

 


ACE Leader Beverly George also is a member of Indivisible, the Naperville League of Women Voters, and the Citizens Climate Lobby. She also volunteers with her parish PADS group. A former chemist, George worked in clinical chemistry and hematology research at the Centers for Disease Control for six years and taught chemistry and freshman science at Naperville North High School for 20 years.

 

 

 

Trump-Pence Gag Rule Blocks Women from Getting the Health Care They Need

 

By Paloma Arroyo
Planned Parenthood Illinois Action

 

The Trump-Pence administration is at it again.

They’re trying to block patients from coming to Planned Parenthood. However, the latest attack is much bigger than Planned Parenthood. This new rule would be radical departure from the way health care has operated in the United States up until now.

On Tuesday, May 22nd, at a reception for the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization known for their extreme anti-choice agenda, President Donald Trump announced he would be making changes to a decades-old federal family planning program, Title X. The changes are a gag rule. Period.

The gag rule would do four main things.

1. Impose new rules designed to make it impossible for patients to get birth control or preventive care from reproductive health care providers like Planned Parenthood.

2. Prevent health care providers across the country — including doctors, nurses, hospitals, and community health centers — from referring their patients for safe, legal abortion.

3. Remove the guarantee that patients get full and accurate information about their health care from their doctors.

4. Remove the requirement that contraception be medically approved and that providers ensure access to full range of birth control.

This is a direct attack on women’s basic rights.

Established in 1970, Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with low incomes access to comprehensive family planning. Title X ensures people have access to contraception and gives them more control over their lives, health, careers, and economic security.

In Illinois, there are 95 Title X sites, 17 of which are Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) health centers. While PPIL makes up only 18% of total Title X providers in the state, PPIL serves 42%, or 43,950, of Title X patients in Illinois. Blocking patients from going to Planned Parenthood means that many of these people would go without care because Planned Parenthood is the only Title X health care provider in their community. In Illinois, there are six counties—LaSalle, Macon, McLean, Peoria, Sangamon, and Tazewell—where PPIL is the only Title X provider.

It gets much worse. Nationally, there are 4,000 Title X health centers, and this gag rule would block federal funding from going to any US health clinic that so much as mentions abortion as an option for women. This means that many community health centers, hospital-based clinics, and health departments would also be gagged from giving patients full and accurate information about all of their options.

This is detrimental for the state of Illinois.



If Planned Parenthood were excluded from Title X, all other types of Title X-funded sites in Illinois would have to increase their contraceptive client caseloads by 73 percent to serve the women who currently obtain contraceptive care from Planned Parenthood health centers. For example, in DuPage County, PPIL’s Aurora Health Center serves 75% of patients that access contraceptive care from a publicly funded health center.

This gag rule would fall the hardest on people of color.


Because of systemic inequities, many patients who rely on Title X for their health care needs are people of color, who already face significant barriers to accessing health care. About 21 percent of Title X patients identify as Black or African American and 32 percent identify as Hispanic or Latino. After being blocked from these health centers, including Planned Parenthood, many patients would have nowhere else to go for care.

How can you fight back? 



The proposed rule was officially published in the Federal Register on Friday, June 1. The 60-day comment period is open now and will conclude on July 31.

1. Post a comment for HHS here
2. Text TITLEX to 22422
3. Share your Planned Parenthood story
4. Volunteer: email palomaa@ppil.org for opportunities to get involved
5. Social media: #NoGagRule #StandWithPP


Paloma Arroyo is a grassroots organizer with Planned Parenthood of Illinois, Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, and Planned Parenthood Illinois PAC.

 

 

Important to Elect Dems Now More Than Ever

 

By Janice Podolski
ACE Health, Education, and Welfare Team Member

 

At first, I was numb, then simply depressed when I read about Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s retirement.

We seem to be headed back to the 1950s, when wives were expected to have dinner on the table at five o’clock sharp when hubby walked in the door. Father read the paper after dinner, while the little woman cleaned up the kitchen and got the kids ready for bed.

There’s a good chance the Supreme Court will revisit Roe v. Wade if a Trump conservative justice is sworn in. Anti-choice groups have already gutted it in several states, and the president promised pro-life justices on the campaign trail.

When I grew up, I knew families with six to 12 children. Parents were happy if their children graduated from 8th grade and elated if they had a high school diploma. In fact, my father-in-law left school after 6th grade and was expected to help support his siblings as he was one of six kids. My mother-in-law was one of six children, too. Both of my parents graduated from high school, but both were one of five children. Guess they were fortunate.

Well, ladies, at least we have washing machines and dryers, so we don’t have to march down to the creek with our washboards and hang clothes on the lines in the backyard.

The Supreme Court’s decision on Wednesday on collective bargaining stated that “…government workers who choose not to join unions may not be required to help pay for collective bargaining,” according to the New York Times. That also hit home.

People today do not realize that most of the job-related benefits, such as healthcare, vacations, 15-minute breaks and a lunch break while working, and staffing rules were all hard-won victories by labor unions. When a union of hourly workers won a benefit, the company was often compelled to give it to their salaried staff, too.

It is also distressing to know that our President has a list of Supreme Court candidates that he was given during his campaign. Not sure who gave it to him, since I am sure he was clueless about what a SCOTUS candidate should look like on paper, but he said he is ready to start naming the next one as soon as possible.

But I intend to resist and persist. The 2018 midterm elections are next, plus lots of lobbying.  We have to clean out the Senate first, because they vote for the Supreme Court nominees, then the House.

Our work has just begun.

The cost of health insurance premiums escalate

 

By Beverly George, ACE Leader

 

Catherine Rampell in the Washington Post reported on May 14, 2018 that Virginia, Maryland, and Vermont have preliminarily announced premium-rate requests for Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual policies.

The breakout of their numbers shows Virginia coming in first place with insurance companies requesting a premium rise of 64.3%. But the weighted average for current enrollment looks like it will settle down to only 13.4%, according to health care analyst Charles Gaba.

Vermont says only one of its insurers requested an increase of 7.5%; the other was seeking a 10.9% average annual rate increase.

In Maryland, double-digit premium increases are typical too, with an average hike of 30%. One plan asked for a heart-stopping, no-more-need-for-insurance-ever 91.4% jump!

These numbers won’t be final, but they are symptomatic of what the Republican congress has initiated in their plan to quietly sabotage and kill off the ACA, not to mention the American voters who depend on it for their health care.

 

‘One plan asked for a heart-stopping, no-more-need-for-insurance-ever 91.4% jump!’

 

The Republicans pushed for and passed the repeal of the individual mandate in their GOP Tax Plan. As the number of younger, healthier people opted out of coverage, the number of individual market enrollees remaining decreased quickly, and these patients are sicker. Hence, the premiums have gone up significantly.

In addition, last fall, the Trump administration made it harder for new enrollees to find information and to enroll in a plan. They effectively shortened the enrollment time and reduced public outreach, advertising, and advice to assist new patients in joining.

Finally, the Trump administration has pushed hard for plans that do not include the many of the protections of the ACA, namely, coverage for pre-existing conditions, requisite coverage for prescription drugs, and mental health care. They push hard for short-term insurance plans and association health plans, both of which offer cheap, but extremely slim, coverage. They are, in effect, junk insurance plans, proposed in the name of giving consumers more choices.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, “With the repeal of the individual mandate and expansion of short-term plans, double-digit hikes are now likely.” This is “blatant public-policy malpractice,” but in spite of Democrats beating the drum on this issue, voters’ attention spans on health care are dwindling, and Republicans have no interest in triage for Americans’ health.

We all need to stay tuned and engage others in ongoing conversations on the issue of health care.

 


ACE Leader Beverly George also is a member of Indivisible, the Naperville League of Women Voters, and the Citizens Climate Lobby. She also volunteers with her parish PADS group. A former chemist, George worked in clinical chemistry and hematology research at the Centers for Disease Control for six years and taught chemistry and freshman science at Naperville North High School for 20 years.