I spent 5 hours at the local Department of Economic Security today. Hopefully, my reasons for being there were resolved, however as I wind up my day I am gladdened that I made a difference twice while I was there.
The first time was while speaking with a neighbor who I happened to see. We'd talked about many things, but all of a sudden I got the feeling that nearly all of the 30 plus people waiting in the room were listening to me. I looked away from my neighbor's face to realize that it wasn't a feeling, the people around me were looking at me, and the conversations around me had died. The words I was speaking had somehow arrested the attention of the people around me. What was I talking about? Why, about how Arizona's govenor had finally done something that I appreciated when she supported the medicaid expansion and had pressured the AZ legislature to accept the medicaid expansion. I related that in January adults without children that were at 130% of the FPL and below would be eligible for Medicaid. I explained that her justification was because before the crash of 2008 Arizona already had an expanded Medicaid program, so in many ways accepting the Medicaid expansion was a way to restore what we used to have, but have the federal government pay for it.
The experience was uncanny. However, it assures me that even the poor of the US are very interested in healthcare.
The second was a couple of hours later in the overflow waiting room. (Yes, this DES office has an overflow waiting room and a line out the door.) I don't remember why it was that I commented something about the coral reefs dying and dead zones in the ocean. "What?" asked a pretty black woman near to me. I spent the next 10 minutes until my name was finally called explaining to her and her friend how CO2 is acidifying the oceans, killing sea life, dead zones from agricultural runoff, the Great Pacific Plastic Patch, how we are entering another extinction event, what hydraulic fracturing is, as well as its ecological and health problems.
Today was a good day. For myself, for my children, for humanity - I made a difference today.